Monday, April 20, 2009

Horaţiu Rădulescu

Horaţiu Rădulescu, "Iubiri" from AnaBlog. The description and reprint of the liner notes on the blog will give you all the necessary data on this 46 minute bout of swelling, undulating Aurora borealis action, but featured throughout are the high whines and loon calls of the composer's sound icon, the harp of a piano turned on its side, played by running rosined nylon cords against the strings to make sustained sounds. I was once an ardent supporter of prepared piano (in brief: placing things on the and between the strings of a piano to get percussive effects) and playing around under the hood of a grand piano, but as I've grown away from being a categorical upstart, I find the pieces tend toward novelty over invention. This however, is action born of necessity, in fact it is the rattly percussion that attempts to take away from the solar flare action of the sound icon.

His Clepsydra, also discussed in depth on AnaBlog socred for an elephant herd of these instruments - imagine witnessing a staging of 16 upturned pianos being ardently flossed by earnest music students trying to figure all this out - is better illustrator of this instrument's capabilities. It sounds like an epic Slinky battle at first, and almost lost me until about 7 minutes in where the piece gives way to stretches and creaks and moans and overtones from the relentlessly caressed instruments. It is the sound of the swamp, the murmur of the city, the hum of Everything. Too much is happening to accurately discern a single sound; all you get is the occasional event bobbing up out of the surface before going back under. One submits to the enormity of it all and is helpless to do anything but watch it grow and hope/fear that that the whole thing goes supernova by the end.

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