MORTEN OLSEN (b.1961): Kata, In a Silent Way, Oryq, Ictus.

Catalogue Number: 04K119

Label: Dacapo

Reference: 8.226525

Format: CD

Price: $9.98

Description: Post-just-about-everything, and elevating eclecticism to an art form in its own right in unprecedented measure, Olsen's music is complex yet appealing, bewildering yet approachable, and as difficult to categorize as those apparent paradoxes might suggest. Opening with fragmented gestures, Kata passes through several phases of jerkily animated minimalism, a dissonant climax and lively instrumental arabesques, before concluding in cavernous piano clusters, an idea that underpinned some of the previous material. In a silent way is described by the composer as a written improvisation, and sounds like one, with a nod to the composer's background in jazz, in the undulating solo bass flute line, illuminated by subtle gestures from the rest of the ensemble. Oryq adds the unearthly sound of 24 tuned gongs to the forces of the Schubert Octet, in music in which hints of meditative minimalism and an almost Feldmanesque stasis alternate with aggressive, dogged scherzi, the first driven and rough, the second sounding like grotesquely distorted, even nightmarish, memory fragments of genteel Viennese dances. Ictus, the earliest work here (2005) uses pulse as a structural element; whether obscured in abstract overlapping waves of dissonant tone or driving the music as an ostinato in more dynamic sections, the rhythm is present 'like a DNA string' in the composer's words. Esbjerg Ensemble; Christopher Austin.


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