MARKO NIKODIJEVIC (b.1980): Cvetic, Kucica.../La lugubre gondola nach Franz Liszt, GHB/tanzaggregat for Orchestra (Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jonathan Stockhammer), Chambres de ténèbres/tombeau de Claude Vivier for Ensemble), Gesualdo Dub/Raum mit gelöschter Figur for Piano and Ensemble (Benjamin Kobler [piano], Ensemble musikFabrik; Clement Power), Music Box/Selbstportrait mit Ligeti und Strawinsky (und Messiaen ist auch dabei) for Ensemble (Nieuw Ensemble; Micha Hamel).
Catalogue Number: 11P086
Label: col legno
Reference: WWE 1CD 40408
Description: These remarkable pieces are powerfully atmospheric and emotionally intense, and achieve these Romantic ideals through the full resources of contemporary techniques, rendered instantly accessible by the most skillful involvement of the insubstantial yet instantly recognisable shadows of past composers. All share an element of Memento mori, with the layers of symbolic imagery and wealth of obsessively rendered detail of the Renaissance vanitas genre of painting. Liszt's La lugubre gondola, itself a memorial to Wagner, is the basis of Cvetic, Kucica, yet only the tolling, undulating rhythm and a quotation of the melody are actually present, with Liszt's harmony anchoring a sonorous nocturnal progression of shadowy images. The concerto begins with a similar hypnotic gentle rocking motion, this time alluding to Gesualdo's madrigal Moro lasso. Here too, a melancholy melody emerges, suggesting without imitating the chromatic contours of Gesualdo's melody, while piano flourishes hint at the ornamented vocal lines of the madrigal. As in the Liszt piece, Nikodijevic's construction goes far beyond the original in elaboration and complexity, while retaining it as an uncanny, disturbing ghostly presence throughout. Music Box, its title a punning derivative of that of a piece by Ligeti, constantly alludes to cunningly observed traits of the composers of the title - Ligeti's frenetically active harpsichord textures, Stravinskyan rhythms and so on - with no direct quotation at all. Nikodijevic's piece holds up a distorting mirror to these composers, to himself, and to Vivier, who is also memorialised in Chambres. This work borrows elements of the Canadian composer's orientalism, shimmering orchestration and melodic contour; the darkened room of the desolate first movement may be the Paris apartment where he was murdered; later, pounding rhythms, the frantic activity at first muted as though heard from the street, then suddenly fully present and in focus, suggest a door opening suddenly on the disco nightclubs where he eventually met his murderer. GHB refers to a disorienting hallucinatory recreational drug, but despite the pounding crescendo that comprises the second half of the piece, and its insistent rapid pulse throughout, this is no abandoned rave, but rather a precision mechanism whose motion is accelerated through a distorted sense of time. The subliminal antecedent here is Khachaturian's Sabre Dance.