James Wood John Cage Brian Ferneyhough
Contemporary music is a central component of conservatory training today and is practiced at the University of the Arts Bern at the highest level, as this recording attests. When they were written (between 1983 and 1995), the three pieces on this album by John Cage, James Wood and Brian Ferneyhough would have been neither technically nor logistically possible to play at a music conservatory.
In "Ryoanji" by John Cage it is the unusual structure, which is based partially on chance and requires the interpreters to go beyond merely executing the notation. In his "Two men meet, each presuming the other to be from a distant planet", James Wood employs electronics in a way that exhausted the capabilities of the equipment in the 1980s such that it is necessary to perform the work using these "historical" electronic devices to get the proper sound today. In terms of its instrumental technique, Brian Ferneyhough's "La Chute d'Icare" is music of an almost absurd difficulty.
All three compositions here have in common that they were created on the basis of visual works: in Cage are outlines of existing stones, in Ferneyhough it is Pieter Bruegel the Elder (doubting this authorship), and Wood refers to Paul Klee's engraving Two men, suspecting one another in a higher position, meet each other (1903, see also the text by Wood on his work below). This approach is in line with the priorities of the Bern University of the Arts, which has been promoting and enabling interdisciplinary projects of all kinds for many years. (Peter Herb, Deputy Head of Music, University of the Arts Bern)
- Two Men Meet, Each Presuming The Other To Be From A Distant Planet
- La Chute D'icare
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