- Double Concerto for piano, percussion & ensemble
- Akrostichon-Wortspiel, 7 scenes from fairy tales for soprano & orchestra
Unsuk Chin: Fantaisie Mécanique; Xi; Akrostichon-Wortspiel; Double Concertoby Ensemble Intercontemporain
Korean-born composer Unsuk Chin studied with Ligeti in the later part of his career and is sometimes classed as his disciple. But he is only one of her influences. The works here, recorded for a Deutsche Grammophon young composers' series in the early 2000s and later issued by Kairos, are attractive, in fact, in that they differ considerably in style but maintain common threads throughout, including an interest in fine gradations of timbre and a certain sense of humor. The centerpiece is a work by Chin that has received multiple performances: "Akrostichon-Wortspiel" (Acrostic Wordplay, 1991-1993). That work, consisting of seven short movements in which text from children's stories (including Through the Looking-Glass) is atomized into individual syllables, has a treacherous soprano part, and Piia Komsi's performance here will go down among the ranks of sympathetic vocal renderings of difficult modernist music. The reference of the opening "Fantaisie mécanique" is perhaps Antheil's "Ballet mécanique," and the work has an intriguing combination of motor rhythms and improvisatory qualities. In the lovely "Double Concerto for prepared piano, percussion, and orchestra," the piano is dulled in its central register, creating a host of possible effects in the way it and the percussion take off from small orchestral cues. The toughest piece is "Xi" (1998), for electronics and a small ensemble of winds, strings, and percussion. The title refers to a Korean word apparently similar to "atom." The Ensemble InterContemporain from Paris has deep expertise in this type of material, and the "Akrostichon-Wortspiel" in itself will be worth the money for adherents of modernist styles.
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Performance CreditsEnsemble Intercontemporain Primary Artist
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