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Markus ZAHNHAUSEN Lyric Scenes     Susanna Laurin (recorder)  BIS CD 1013 66'22"

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"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


Peter Grahame Woolf

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