Home » Jazz Articles » Ole-Henrik Moe: Ciaccona / 3 Persephone Perceptions

271
Album Review

Ole-Henrik Moe: Ciaccona / 3 Persephone Perceptions

By

Sign in to view read count
Ole-Henrik Moe: Ciaccona / 3 Persephone Perceptions
A two-disc solo violin recital can be challenging enough, but when it's the music of Norwegian composer Ole-Henrik Moe (b. 1966), it enters an entirely different realm altogether. A student of 20th Century musical modernist composer Iannis Xenakis, Moe's writing explores the subtle variations of overtones and harmonics instead of overt melody and conventional form. Ciaconna / 3 Persephone Perceptions collects two extended, multi-part works, performed by violinist Kari Rønnekliev, representing 85 minutes of extraordinarily demanding, but ultimately rewarding music.

The fourteen-part "Ciaccona" (2002) begins with seemingly random, jagged punctuations that gradually expand, but are more about texture, tone and sonic breadth, resulting from sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle variations in left and right hand pressure. Microtonality, achieved through careful exploration of overtones and harmonics, provides additional variation, as the 45-minute piece moves from jagged extremes to brief moments of silence that create deep tension and anticipation for what's to come next. While the structure of the piece is elusive, it is there nevertheless; revealing itself more when looking for it is avoided, and when the fourteen miniatures are absorbed as a whole.

Silence is an even greater component of the three longer components of "3 Persephone Perceptions" (1995-1996), where Moe's writing can be likened to that of Morton Feldman's—except that Feldman's music, regardless of how long-form it is, largely retains a degree of tonality. That said, there is a stronger allegiance to melody here, although Moe continues to mine the subtlest of harmonic variations, with the sections evolving in a gradual but ultimately inevitable way. The second part is the most relentless, with Rønnekliev bowing the strings with a largely consistent pulse throughout its twenty-three minutes. Harmonics and keen dynamics, which fade in and out of brief silences, provide the emergent form. The third part begins by exploring microtonality between notes on two adjacent strings, but quickly fades into harmonics so imperceptible in their near-silence that, when occasional punctuations occur, they're surprisingly dynamic, despite being relatively subtle themselves.

Kari Rønnekliev''s virtuosity in performing these two less-than-approachable pieces may be as difficult to discern as the underlying forms themselves. But it's the degree of control that the violinist demonstrates throughout that is, in itself, most remarkable. Ciaconna / 3 Persephone Perceptions may not be for those accustomed to conventional form, melody and pulse, but it's an album that rewards the patient listener with a unique experience, where delicate nuance ultimately expands into a surprising soundscape.

Track Listing

CD1: Ciaccona, Parts I-XIV. CD2: 3 Percephone Perceptions, Parts I-III.

Personnel

Kari R

Album information

Title: Ciaccona / 3 Persephone Perceptions | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

In a Funk
The Justin Haynes Jazz Collective
Live In Lisbon
Ben Monder / Tony Malaby / Tom Rainey
Reminiscing at Rudy's
Houston Person

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.