"Compose music as you would like to hear it yourself, regardless of whether
it brings you fame or money" - Witold Lutoslawski, quoted by the composer
above his manifesto.
Markus Zahnhausen (b 1965) is a recorder player and composer who rejects
"hard-core avant-garde" and describes himself as "an inquisitive traditionalist".
He seeks to combine new playing techniques with a generally dulcet,
flute douce, approach. He has produced the largest
known contemporary cycle of works for solo recorder, presenting here 24 tracks,
grouped as Spring Music, Summer Sounds, Autumn Music, Winter Images; Lyric
Scenes; Lux aeterna and Musica inquieta.
It is a brave endeavour, but the single, unaccompanied line is a challenge
for the player and, in a CD lasting more than an hour, puts a strain on the
listener, who would be well advised to take it a little at a time. Sample
the virtuosic three-movement sonata, Musica inquieta. Susanna Laurin,
a pupil of Dan Laurin (I have no idea whether the name Laurin is common as
Smith here?) acquits herself with great distinction. The composer understandably
expresses his gratitude that she chose to record almost all of his compositions
to date for her debut solo CD.
A specialist offering, but a must for recorder players. The whole production
is clearly a labour of love and diligence, with copious acknowledgements,
notably to a sponsor 'bold to support contemporary music for an instrument
outside the mainstream, performed by an unknown artist'; would there
were many more such! The cover picture is intriguing - a computer-treated
portrait (of whom?) with tiny insert squares of nature scenes. The notes
are extensive and interesting, but it is not made clear whether the music
is published. As a (now occasional) recorder player myself, I should like
to try some of the pieces.
Peter Grahame Woolf