Kafta versus Big Brother!
Tym S. | San Francisco, CA USA | 11/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Danish composer Poul Ruders studied under Rasmussen, who had a "mash-up" approach of quoting earlier composers within a sonic blender to open new possibilities. These works extend that additive and subtractive style.
In the tradition of Britten, Ruders' "Concerto In Pieces" is just that; a parade of themes which let the listener learn the nuts and bolts of the orchestra. From a note quote of Purcell, the intro thunders in glorious before breaking down into facets played by different sections in different styles. "IV" surprises with its slinky freeform saxophone in a more bluesy mode; "V" spotlights a nimble tuba; while "VI" is alive with polyrhythmic drums duelling a snakey piano. The latter movements are colder quiet musings drifting like snowflakes before surging back in one rousing finale.
"Violin Concerto" is a triptych contemplating winter. "1" uses subtle quotes from Vivaldi within its complex and restless whirl; "2" lulls into a forlorn and pensive drift, building softly; "3" uses a Schubert quote as a form around which string clusters run, hesitate, double back, stumble, and try again through the wind storm.
The epic title piece "Monodrama", says Ruders, is "all about creating a huge building in sound with the utmost economy." It is an activist's rage paced out for the long run. It is stealthy, watchful, skirting a danger that builds and stalks in return. Far from being a dry exercise in amelodic textures, it's like an exciting mental soundtrack of Kafta escaping a Big Brother fortress. A tour-de-force for percussionist Mathias Reumert, and compelling for its entire 30 minutes. Can't wait for a movie!"