Karen Phillips – Viola Today (SR 9007 0698) (1974)

SAM_0280It looked interesting, so for 99p at Folkestone’s Age UK yesterday, I was happy to take a punt. The presence of a Cage (“Dream” [1948]) was the initial hook–the piece, a moody, appealing drone, was originally arranged for piano. “Sequenza VI” (1967), the Berio composition, is far more brutal; full of agitated scrapings and grunts, the uninitiated (e.g. your correspondent) could easily imagine the soloist making it up as she went along. In fact, the work by Maderna (“Viola” [1971]) opening side two is designed to be deconstructed at will. Two versions of “Viola” are presented. The first is as written or “closed form”. The second, as per the composer’s instructions, can be started at any point in the score and interpolate any section of the work the performer so chooses, i.e. “open form”. Heady stuff.

The label is Finnadar, an avant-garde imprint run by İlhan Mimaroǧlu which was distributed by the fellow Turks at Atlantic.
BBC Radio 3 sometimes play “difficult” modern compositions like this late Friday and Saturday night. These can be more challenging and rewarding than anything on radio. I recommend it if you’re feeling especially pugnacious.

Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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