HORATIU RADULESCU (1942-2008): Intimate Rituals III for Cello and Sound Icons, Op. 63, Immersed in the Wonder II for Cello and Trombone, Op. 96, Organ Works: Christe eleison, Op 69, Amen, Op. 88, You-tree kalotrope III from Cinerum, Op. 88.
Catalogue Number: 06U063
Description: An enthralling exploration of Radulescu's unique world of mysticism and mystical sounds. Intimate Rituals III is an important work in the composer’s output. The series of works for different instruments share the 'sound icons' background recording, which functions as a constant bourdon, or drone, very much in the manner of the Indian tambura or tenpura, which it somewhat resembles. The Sound Icons were one of Radulescu's most radical experiments in tuning; grand pianos turned on their sides, retuned spectrally and played directly on the strings with a variety of techniques and objects. Improvisations performed on these were captured on tape and used as the electronic component of the works. In the cello work, the instrument is also tuned spectrally in a special scordatura and played with a wide variety of extended techniques, producing one of the composer’s most complete compendia of spectral timbres available to express his visionary intentions. The music, though rich with constantly changing textural events, is of course mainly slow, reverent and mysterious. The organ works, their religious connotations reflected in their titles - You-tree Kalotrope III is actually also part of Radulescu’s "Liturgy for Ash Wednesday" - find the composer working within the limitations of a well-tempered instrument. Or not; in You-tree Kalotrope III, some of the instrument is tuned spectrally, so the clash between different tunings is what gives rise to the overtones on which the work’s timbres rely. Christe eleison, on the other hand, makes use of clustered chords that approximate spectral series and emphasise the higher partials, along with sum and difference tones that add to the notes actually being played. A version of the latter also occurs in Immersed in the Wonder II, in which the trombone plays in even temperament and the cello in spectral tuning, both playing a solemn melody that sounds like plainchant. The resulting otherworldly timbres and intonation are truly extraordinary. Amen, like the other organ works, is solemn and liturgical in feeling. It consists of 27 repetitions of the same fragment, centered on a Messiaen-like chord which progressively expands in register, with timbre and dynamics changing with each repetition, separated by sonorous interludes. Catherine Marie Tunnell (cello), Christoph Maria Moosmann (organ).