OSCAR STRASNOY (b.1970): 3 Caprices de Paganini for Violin and Orchestra (Latica Honda-Rosenberg [violin]), Incipit (Sum No. 1), Y (Sum No. 2), Scherzo (Sum No. 3), The End (Sum No. 4).
Catalogue Number: 06O088
Reference: AECD 1331
Description: These pieces strongly call to mind a particular aspect of fellow Argentine composer Kagel; those works that explore what music is, how it works, and what it's for, through the medium of skillfully composed, notated works, often based on combinations of different musics of the past, with an ironic commentary in more modernistic idiom an integral part of the piece. That description fits what we have here pretty much exactly. The four pieces that make up Sum borrow fragments from Mahler, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, and refer to other pieces beside, to play with the ideas of beginnings, endings, what makes a scherzo a scherzo, and so on. Y is pronounced 'why?', and the Schumann fragment is, of course, Warum? from the Fantasiestücke. Final gestures of various works, mainly the Beethoven, make up the bulk of The End, connected by a dissonant gel of extended-technique texture. As an added nose-thumbing gesture, The End begins the CD, while Incipit, which takes as its point de départ a phrase from the opening gesture of Mahler 5, occurs later, after the little violin concerto, Three Caprices, based on three of Paganini's caprices; the first, elaborated in heterophonic orchestral texture; the sixth, which is surrounded by a diffusing halo of subtle imitative gestures, and the 24th, which preserves the variation form of the original, but which here run the gamut from jazzy, clever rhythmic accompaniments through sonorous coloristic textures to wild outbursts of clusters attempting to impede the constantly present theme. Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Susanna Mälkki (The End and Y), Dima Slobodeniouk.