ELLIOTT SHARP (b.1951): On Corlear’s Hook (Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra; Peter Rundel), Proof of Erdös (Orchestra Carbon; David Bloom), The Boreal (JACK Quartet), Oligosono (Jenny Lin [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 11R092
Description: Sharp has been a fixture on the New York avant-garde scene for decades, as an experimental multi-instrumentalist specializing in novel timbres. His composed music consists largely of that type of material too, with extended techniques and ingenious modifications of conventional instruments - like the special bows used by the quartet in The Boreal - very much the norm rather than the exception. Sharp experiments with acoustical phenomena - difference tones, resonances, unusual timbres - directly, and also takes inspiration from theories in physics and mathematics in many works; both in the portrait of the highly eccentric, brilliant mathematician Paul Erdös and in the piano work there are sections that resemble a kind of process music with repeating gestures suggesting a kind of mathematical formula. The first and lasting impression, though, is of the innovative timbres - unfailingly harsh and confrontational; the composer happily describes them as 'beautifully vicious' - no Sciarrino-like whispering subtlety here!