Search - flute; G. List, trombone; L. Polansky, electric guitar; M. Riessler, bass clarinet; F. Rzewski, piano, percussion; R. Schulkowsky, vibraphone, marimba, percussion; C. Szlavnics, saxophone; C. Wolff, piano, melodica, percussion N. Diels :: Christian Wolff: 10 Exercises

Christian Wolff: 10 Exercises
flute; G. List, trombone; L. Polansky, electric guitar; M. Riessler, bass clarinet; F. Rzewski, piano, percussion; R. Schulkowsky, vibraphone, marimba, percussion; C. Szlavnics, saxophone; C. Wolff, piano, melodica, percussion N. Diels
Christian Wolff: 10 Exercises
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

This marvelous recording of these elusive works features composer-supervised performances by a hand-picked group of renowned new-music exponents. "Your first encounter with the music of Christian Wolff leaves you with t...  more »

      
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This marvelous recording of these elusive works features composer-supervised performances by a hand-picked group of renowned new-music exponents. "Your first encounter with the music of Christian Wolff leaves you with the impression you've just heard (or played, or read) something totally strange, unlike anything else you know. And yet, upon reflection, you realize it is at the smae time something completely ordinary and normal, as familiar in its way as any number of repetitive actions characteristic of everyday life, getting up in the morinign, going to school, work, church, washing the dishes, performin the daily tasks of home and family. Wierd little tunes, sounding as if they had been beamed at some reomte point in the universe and then bounced back again as a kind of intergalactic mutant music; recognizable melodic pairings, sometimes reminiscent of the demons of Hieronymus Bosch, composites of animals, fish, flowers, and common household objects: there is order, but also constant interruption, intrusions of disorderly reality upon regularity and lawfulness, combining to create an effect of both familiarity and strangeness: Shklovsky's ostranenie. You could say this music is surrealist-not reproducing familiar forms, but revealing, behind these, life's unpredictability. you could say it is political; improvisatory; concerned with collaborative, non-hierarchial forms of social organization; but you can't really say what it is like (although John Cage came close when he said, after a performance of the Exercisesd in New Your, that it was like the classical music of an unknown civilization)." - Frederic Rzewski

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CD Reviews

Wolff's unique chamber music.
Tom Furgas | Youngstown, OH United States | 09/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Christian Wolff is, of course, one of the members of the so-called New York School of composers, in company with Cage, Brown, and Feldman. All four of them had unique and very individual approaches to compositional "indeterminacy" and flexibility. Wolff's approach allows for many more tonal elements to join in, but that doesn't make his work "easy listening" by any means! His approach with these Exercises is to provide very loosely composed notations and a lot of freedom for the performers to mix and intermingle with those notes. In fact most of what one hears is not notated at all...there is (as with much of Wolff's chamber music) a keen sense of give-and-take that is needed in order to make the musical dialogue come alive. These players, all top-notch professionals, bring about very absorbing and intelligent listening to these skeletal notes that Wolff has provided. John Cage summed up the beauty and mystery of these pieces when he declared that they sound like music from a "forgotten civilization". There are still not enough Wolff recordings available, so the appearance of this excellent CD is a must-have for all fans of 20th Century music, especially the post-war avant-garde."