(Oaksmus)

Composer and improviser Eichmann has kindly sent me a copious bunch of his recent and past releases, and I’m happy to report about them pretty regularly, since the man fathers music that is difficult, stimulating and provocative, often all of the above in a single outing. Such is the case of this “concerto for solo piano and fourteen instrumentalists”, where everything was carefully notated but I’ll be damned if these scores don’t sound like a complex collective improvisation, except for selected moments (for example pianist Christoph Grund’s soloist spots, which reveal him as a brilliant interpreter, very much in line with Eichmann’s score and intentions). The concert, of which the CD contains the première, was recorded in Karlsruhe on October 1999 and executed by the soloists of the SWR Symphony Orchestra conducted by David R.Coleman. Its concept is essentially based on the “beastly” characteristics of war, although detailing this without quoting large chunks of Harald Borges’ explicative notes would be too complicated for the scope of a review. Let’s just say that there is neither a “hook” or “refrain”, nor anything that could be memorized or instantly sung back. The aspects of Eichmann’s architecture range from bitter to violent: many bursts and explosions, scarcity of smooth sections (in any case scarred by acrid dissonances). A potentially unifying instrumental element may be Teodoro Anzellotti’s accordion, maybe the only fairly “static” presence in an otherwise perennially boiling cauldron, yet even that is soon swallowed by the general sense of barely repressed rage that the music seems to exalt. It’s an intriguing record that nevertheless won’t emerge as “appealing” after twenty tries. Certainly not for everyone, significant just the same.

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