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Cecilie ORE
Codex Tempore

Cikada String Quartet & Oslo Sinfonietta/Christian Eggen
Aurora ACD 4989

Here is a mind-blowing glimpse of another world and a CD which makes one ashamed to know so little of contemporary Norwegian music. Cecilie Ore (b.1954) studied in Holland and has been widely performed in Northern countries. She is preoccupied with aspects of time and its perception and organisation and employs the same time machines to construct the four pieces - 'polyphonic clockworks ticking relentlessly'.

The structure of the first Praesens Subitus (1989) is 'generalised' by computer to generate the other pieces. Ore amplifies the instruments in all the pieces of this 'tetralogy', eliminating any associations with 'gentility' for the string quartet. Futurum Exactumi (1992) for string ensemble and Erat Erit Ist (1991) for a sinfonietta-type orchestra of 15 instruments.

They are overwhelming to hear and best taken separately. The first and shortest, for string quartet, establishes her style. It relates to Crumb's Black Angels and, further back, to the insistent tremolando which must have shocked earlier listeners to Schubert's Op 161. Trilled semitone glissandi with constant accents are pervasive, there are fortissimo sul ponticello glissandi, sudden silences, broken articulations of irregular repeated notes with snap pizzicato and col legno battuto, with four sections based on Fibonacci proportions. The effect of the whole is astringent and invigorating - if you can take it!

Erat Erit Ist brings back more variety of timbre and harmony, and a heightened dramatic feel to this 22 minute composition, and may be best heard next. Futurum Exactumi for a dozen strings is even more aggressive. If you have responded positively to Xenakis and early Penderecki I think you will be glad to make the acquaintance of this formidable Norwegian.

Her music is discussed fully in a not too jargon-filled essay by Richard Troop; production and recording are excellent. A significant discovery.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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