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Boulez: Sur Incises; Messagesquisse; Anthemes 2 Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello/Hae-Sun Kang, violin/ Ensemble Interconemporain/Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon 289 463 475-2).

Boulez: Sur Incises; Messagesquisse; Anthemes 2 Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello/Hae-Sun Kang, violin/ Ensemble Interconemporain/Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon 289 463 475-2)

Those with no interest at all in contemporary music can skip to the next review. Those who are still with me are probably aware that although Pierre Boulez is probably most well known these days as a conductor, he is also a composer of considerable but controversial reputation. The music on this CD is not easy listening music, but it is not so forbidding that listeners should be afraid to give it a try. Sur Incises is a fascinating work for three pianos, three harps, vibraphone, marimba, and steel drums (not the little pan drums played in the islands, but honest-to-goodness steel drums). What is especially interesting about it is how it sounds essentially like a piece for one big piano rather than an ensemble piece, with all the instruments being played "pianistically." It's a long way from Chopin, but it has its own brand of whimsy. Messagesquisse is scored for solo cello and six cellos. Short phrases get tossed back and forth, with the instruments seeming to be sneaking up on each other, musically speaking. The final piece on this CD, Anthemes 2, features a solo violin playing along with electronic manipulations of its own sounds. The resulting sounds are, as you might imagine, strange, other-worldly, but certainly interesting to hear. Not only is the sound of the violin itself manipulated, but also the sonic space (the "soundstage," to use that old audiophile term). I would be quite interested to hear what this would sound like on a surround-sound setup (no, I still have not set one up, as I am still waiting for some kind of standard to emerge, not to mention some hope of a decent musical catalog.) Although my descriptions of this music may make it sound quite daunting, those with some sense of musical adventure might want to give this CD a try. It may not be something you will find yourself playing over and over again, but I believe you will find it interesting and rewarding. --KWN
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Nehring, Karl W.
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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