Riviere Composers' Pool: Summer Works 2009
Summer Works 2009
Summer Works 2009 is, very possibly, one of the finest testaments to spontaneously composed contemporary music since saxophonist Steve Lacy fired his first broadsides in Europe almost four decades ago. The music flies in the face of logichow can two,three or four disparate individuals be of one mind? Moreover, how can the musicians know where each idea emerges from, not know where it is going and still take it there? It speaks of musicianship beyond simpatico; ideas that immediately form a bond and invent a new language to create their as yet undiscovered literature. The music is so in-the-moment and so powerful in its impact that it stops the breath and opens the seventh chakra in the crown of the head, all at once. Bassist Kent Carter, an alumnus of no less than Lacy, in various combinations with violinist Albrecht Maurer and reeds players Etienne Rolin and Theo Jörgensmann, discovered here that parallel lines from artistic lives do not simply meet at infinity, but in fact spiral up and down together interminably, dancing like images of DNA as they turn incredibly creative almost at will.
This is more than a significant album of over three hours of music; it is an event, a collision of genius. On CD1, Carter, Jörgensmann and Maurer explore triangular development of the music. Ideas can originate almost anywhere, be they from the gravitas of Carter's mighty con arco playing or his spritely pizzicato; or they could start with a gentle bleat from Theo Jörgensmann's clarinet or in the wail of Maurer's violin or viola. There is never a scramble to pick up on the proceedings; simply, it seems an organically created architecture to the music that is ceaselessly inventive andat timesbeautifully sweet in melody as well. The music swells and ebbs with oceanic intensity at times, but may also skip and bubble gently as a brook. There are several moments that come to mind, in tracks as varied as "Ways of Moving," "Music for a Ghost Story" and "Dance to This."
CD2 begins with a series of pieces developed by the power duo of Carter and Rolin, who also plays the seldom-used basset horn, a tenor clarinet that was once also very effectively played by Vladimir Chekasin in the Ganelin Trio. There is an almost playful camaraderie that exists between Carter and Rolin. "And What is This" and "Folksong" are a wonderful reflections of this. But the two men can also be pensive and almost brooding as their instruments undulate and growl in "Eye for I." The duo session is followed by a masterful seven-part extended piece, "The Summer Works Suite," which is brings all four musicians (except on part three) together for what sounds like a much larger ensemble. As this music unfolds, the suggestion that this might also be a kind of history lesson in completely improvised music also follows in the wake of musical developments. The spontaneity is so magnificently wrought that it appears to develop a lattice work all its own. Artists are also like medieval apothecaries and this quartet is no different. As the music tumbles down musicians appear and disappear like shadows at Stonehenge, where each worships at the altar of creativity.
The final episode in this formidable package, CD3, contains perhaps the most priceless item of all. This is a live performance of "The Summer Works Concert." Presumably this is an evolution of its previous incarnation, "The Summer Works Suite." There are no clues other than the title. The music is completely new, and so it should be, as it is wholly improvised. There are fewer sections here, but this suite picks up on the spectacular expanse of the music cited earlier. It is more sweeping and conjures images of seemingly boundless vistas painted in sound. In some places the music is dense when the musicians seem awash with the high viscosity of ideas. At other times, especially in the latter part of the concert, the artists' interaction becomes more playful as they skip and dance along their way, entwining phrases and lines seamlessly. No matter how the music plays on, it is always brimful with ingenuity, magic and unexpected joy. In fact it is fair to say that the music originates not in the mind of each artist, but bursts forth from the very souls of every one of them. And suddenly it seems that the three CDs, even with three hours of music, are not enough. Perhaps it is a way of looking forward to the next offering, if ever there is to be one.
How it was that Kent Carter, Etienne Rolin, Theo Jörgensmann and Albrecht Maurer could conceive and invent and improvise with such unbridled genius will remain one of those mysteries that keep the art alive for an indeterminate period of time.
Tracks: CD1: Ways of Moving; Spaces; Horizon; Persistent; Pinwheel; Music for a Ghost Story; Dance to This; Suite of Actions; Pilgrimage for Two (clarinet/viola duo); Up and Away (Violin/bass duo); CD2: Hi; Sky Cry; And What is This?; Folksong; Eye for I; Alto Flute Story; By; The Summer Works Suite: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five; Part Six; Part Seven; CD3: The Summer Works Concert: First Movement; Second Movement; Third Movement; Fourth Movement.
Personnel: CD1: Theo Jörgensmann: clarinet; Albrecht Maurer: violin, viola; Kent Carter: double bass. CD2: Theo Jörgensmann: clarinet (814); Etienne Rolin: clarinet, basset horn, alto flute; Albrecht Maurer: violin, viola (814); Kent Carter: double bass. CD3: Theo Jörgensmann: clarinet; Etienne Rolin: clarinet, basset horn, alto flute; Albrecht Maurer: violin, viola; Kent Carter: double bass.