Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bayan tales, 15 Oct 2011
This review is from: Gubaidulina: Fachwerk/ Silenzio (Audio CD)
This release offers the first recording of one of Sofia Gubaidulina's major new pieces composed during the last few years called Fachwerk. Having initially heard it at the 2009 world premiere performance at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, I came away with the impression of it being an interesting new composition, "must hear it again sometime". So very welcome this 2011 Trondheim church recording is, the piece having since 2009 been premiered in lots of other countries as well by more or less the same team, led by expert bayanist Geir Draugsvoll (or accordionist, there doesn't appear to be much if any difference between the two instruments in terms of sound).
Fachwerk is one of Gubaidulina's typical narrative pieces, of course the main character is being projected by the bayan, and at the end one has a sense of having travelled long and far with plenty of adventures along the way. After an opening full of dramatic chords, suspense and tensions building up there's a solo part for the bayan, during which a 3-note descending motif is introduced which can be heard in subsequent episodes too. Next the music almost comes to a lonely standstill; however an energetic high string section picks up the momentum again. After some 24 minutes another thoughtful and indeed tuneful solo part for bayan is introduced. Some bells initiate what appears to be a nice buildup towards the big finale, however at some point the bayan character disagrees and takes a decidedly grumpy turn (quite funny this), only for the strings to take over again to drag the ever protesting bayan towards the finishing line. Quite what all this has to do with the inspiration behind the work (fachwerk means something like timber construction as in building huts) is anybody's guess, anyway for once Gubaidulina's inspiration appears to be earthly rather than spiritual and more to do with beauty of sound in what in her oeuvre is actually a pretty conventional and tonal work.
2011 also marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Silenzio for bayan, violin and cello, a 20-minute piece consisting of 5 miniatures. Its story could be told as follows: during the first three parts the instruments are circling around each other and appear to investigate what possibilities there are for cooperation; in the short fourth part they pluck up the courage to play much faster; in the fifth a sustained argument finally develops (mostly between violin and cello) that builds up towards a big climax, only to be crudely broken off by the bayan which evidently wants to take over. At some point the violin/cello combination retakes the initiative whereupon matters end in a trance-like finale with the bayan slumbering away in the lower registers. Back in 1994 Draugsvoll already recorded this work for a BIS release, compared to that the present recording seems to be a more subtle affair.
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