|Kutschera, Ulrich. / Twenty Years Later|
|Add Date:||2018-05-30|| ||Pull Date:||2018-08-01|| ||Charts:||Classical/Experimental|
|Week Ending:||1 Jul|
Ulrich Kuschera is a Professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology who maintains a devotion to music. “Twenty Years Later” is Volume 2 of his recorded work and includes his important Concerto for Piano and Synthetic Orchestra in C Minor. The first four works correspond to paintings (by Alfred Kuschera) included in the disc’s liner notes. Heliobdellia “responds” to an estate - a home and a tower - dominating a hilly landscape fraught with green. The constant percussive ostinati mix with synthesizer strings, bells, and electric guitar or glockenspiel effects. Nathanael invokes a garden portrait that seems to aspire to religious imagery. The percussion and brass patina finds tempering in the piano and harpsichord effects. Transformations invokes religious icon- ography, opening with a strong sensibility of “space music.” A xylophone-effect accompanies the piece’s “string” or “pedal” evolutions, the sounds stratified. If Charles Ives had lived into the synthetic age, this might have been his work, in which dissonance “thaws” into consonance. Twenty Years Later seems at odds with its pictorial image, a fountain surrounded by trees. The rhythms - jazzy, asymmetrical, somewhat reggae or hip-hop - suggest a wildness not in the artwork. Mid-way, the affect becomes more mystical, marked by keyboard ostinato and high treble reflective of vocalise choirs. |
The Concerto opens with Kuschera’s answer to Beethoven’s Fifth, cross- fertilized by Liszt and Tchaikovsky. What follows has a Baroque component, polyphonic and rife with organ sonority. The music proceeds in contrapuntal periods in a “synthetic” and acrobatic character, as if written by Saint-Saens. Kuschera is capable of melodic expression, albeit facile in evolution, more of a jazz or night-club effect that soon yields to his explosive impulse of the opening. The last pages combine Romantic rhetoric with Bach toccata riffs. The 2nd mvmt sounds like a heavy-footed barcarolle, here influenced by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The middle section has a folk element, repetitive, with sweeping gestures. The last mvmt opens with martial figures, then proceeds into an obsessive dance that could be attributed to Hovhaness; the sudden lyricism has a languor of an electronic Borodin. The last third reverts to grandiose eruptions and jabbing, scalar figures for the grand finale.