Brian Ferneyhough: Terrain, etc. (Kairos) – CD review

My review of ELISION’s new Ferneyhough disc for Kairos is now up on Musical Pointers:

Brian Ferneyhough hasn’t softened up. If anything some of his music, as recorded on this excellent disc, is more impenetrable than that he wrote in the 1970s. La Chute d’Icare, composed in 1988 and the earliest piece here, flies thrillingly out of the blocks with a correspondingly greater sense of abandon.

Impenetrability – or a composed resistance to casual penetration – remains the point, however, perhaps even more so now that the moment of radicalism that bore Unity Capsule or Transit has passed.

I’m told it’s the first review of this recording, although I haven’t checked that myself. Continue reading the review here.


5 thoughts on “Brian Ferneyhough: Terrain, etc. (Kairos) – CD review

  1. Thank you very much for the informative review. And thank you for alerting me to the existence of this CD. I’m not surprised that yours is the first review – not only is it not out in the United States yet, it is not even listed as pre-orderable from any of my usual sources. But I’ll certainly be looking forward to it. Thanks also for the ‘interesting’ take on Ablinger (can’t wait to read your review on his new Kairos CD, “Words and piano” or is that “Piano and words”?)

    And thank you very much for the extended conversation with ELISION, L. Lim and R. Barrett.

  2. Hi Maready – thanks for the kind words.

    I thought the Ferneyhough CD was out, but maybe it isn’t quite yet – it’s not even listed in Kairos’s online shop:

    I think the Ablinger is Voices and Piano, if you mean the Nicolas Hodges CD. I haven’t heard a copy of that yet, but would be very interested in doing so. I might even write something sensible about it too …

  3. The Ablinger recording is interesting in the way that composer is usually interesting — he is closer to conceptual art than composition. The “Hanna Schygulla” piece is a standout. As with his other recordings, I am happy that the music exists and that I have a ‘record’ of it, although I don’t imagine I will be listening to it that often. A major exception is his previous Kairos CD — high concept but also highly musical.

    There have been many great Kairos discs in the bunch that have just come out (as you said, the Ferneyhough doesn’t show up on their website or the usual places yet … although a friend spotted it on the MDT website.) Particularly interesting to me is a set of Klaus Lang’s chamber music, a disc of Alberto Posados and the mammoth 3-CD Sciarrino piece based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

    I’m glad I finally started following the ‘rambler’ … the recent Richard Barret CD on Psi (‘adrift’) might have drifted right past me without the ELISION conversations.

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