Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Kaija SAARIAHO Nuits, adieux (Electric Phoenix directed by Terry Edwards) Près (Ansi Kartunen, cello with electronics)
Lituus (Brass Quartet of Ensemble Intercontemporain) Violin Concerto (Anne Mercier with Orquesta Nacionales of Spain) Sibila (rtve musica) SIB 003 58 mins.


This superb CD illustrates the capriciousness which determines exposure to contemporary music in different countries. The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has become a familiar figure in UK concert life (she is to be a featured composer at the Huddersfield Festival in November) and her CDs are freely available. Jose Manuel Lopez Lopez is an important Spanish composer who is, like so many, almost unknown this side of the Channel. I first encountered his music through this very striking Violin Concerto (1995), played at the Strasbourg musica99 festival (see review in Seen & Heard, October 1999). I am delighted it is on CD. Powerful, virtuosic and orchestrated with great originality, in a single movement of 19 mins. His earlier Lituus (1992) for brass quartet is another thoroughly worth while piece, using extended techniques and special effects; it sounds as if some of it might be improvised, but I guess probably not. Lopez is widely performed in Europe and he has an extensive discography; a 'monographic' CD devoted entirely to his music is to be released shortly.

Both composers have worked at IRCAM in Paris. Saariaho's music often involves electronic manipulation of one type or another. Nuits, adieux and Près both use electronics to fine effect. Electric Phoenix is an English ensemble of singers well known on the contemporary music scene, Judith Rees, Meriel Dickinson, Daryl Runswick & Terry Edwards, dedicated to expanding the scope of vocal music. Ansi Kartunen is an exceptionally gifted cellist and composer. This solo with electronics is a big piece and an excellent demonstration of the scope now available to a solo instrumentalist without needing a piano accompanist. It is dramatic and wholly absorbing.

Not much point in trying to describe all this strange music; it demands to be heard and fresh experiences are assured to the open-eared. The recordings (1992-95) are all excellent and this CD passes my test that a programme of this type should be well balanced as a whole. The information is only in Spanish, but the sound is all, so don't be put off from exploring this innovative Finnish and Spanish music.


Peter Grahame Woolf

I am assured that Juan Carlos Marset of SIBILA is interested in this web site and would "without doubt propose a reasonable price for buyers".

"- - - adressez-vous à: Juan Carlos Marset, il s'intéressera sans doute à votre journal Internet et il pourra vous proposer sans doute aussi un prix raisonnable pour les acheteurs"

If you want a copy contact Juan Carlos Marset  and mention that you saw read the review in the November edition of Music on the Web (UK) :Webmaster Len Mullenger.

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Peter Grahame Woolf

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