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(FMP CD 094)
This inventive orchestral music - featuring soloists Evan Parker, Lê Quan Ninh, and Carlos Zingaro, and conducted by Peter Kowald - features a wide palette of tones and approaches. Sharp string passages, fiery horn parts, and ecstatic drones are all played for dramatic effect. Each piece is pared and concise, determined not to outstay its welcome.
"There are a large number of string players and I haven’t heard many improvising groups with such an enjoyable weightiness in this area. Three vocalists add to the intimate and emotive sound. These recordings come from four dates. There are 20 tracks and over half are under three minutes long. Each of the “Cuts” sounds complete and sometimes brutally to the point. There’s a wealth of surprises and some complex shapings that must be in part attributable to Kowald’s conducting. Dense sustained textures suddenly give way to spacious counterpoint and the rapid transitions from large group to single sounds are managed without any loss in direction or momentum. The results are exceptionally articulate without sounding at all contained or contrived. The recording mix, of such a large and dynamic group, is superb. This is a recording I’d unconditionally recommend all ears be glued to as soon as possible."
"Cuts is a 20-part composition by Peter Kowald in which long, droning lines are undercut by individual and group improvisation. Utilizing the talents of a 22-piece orchestra, this is a work of extremes in modality, polytonalism, and event-oriented serialism. Zingaro leads the strings and voices through a beautifully droning study in contrapuntal improvisation, while Parker claims headship over a fiery section where horns duel with the rhythm section for a microtonal balance before reaching dominance in their lower registers. The ghosts of Anton von Webern and Alban Berg enter through a series of dominant serialist frameworks. The sense of drama in this music is high. There is a large color palette to draw from, and therefore a truly cinematic scope for dynamics, all of which he makes use of intelligently. Satisfying for anyone wishing to encounter vanguard orchestral music being composed and performed at the end of the 20th century."
- All Music Guide
"Peter Kowald convened the 22-strong Ort Ensemble every Saturday night for a year. The intention was to see whether young improvisors from different backgrounds and with varying degrees of experience could workshop a music that was satisfying for players and listeners alike. Evan Parker (soprano sax), Carlos Zingaro (violin) and Lê Quan Ninh (percussion) swell the ranks for this documentary recording. Although their names feature prominently on the CD sleeve, they are integrated into the ensemble and receive no preferential treatment. We can easily discern their presence, of course, because each has a distinctive voice, but this is predominantly an organic, densely textured ensemble music, heavily slanted towards strings and woodwinds. Kowald has fashioned a 20-part suite out of fragments from four days of improvisation. There is much here to admire and a great deal to enjoy."
"The music is comprised of 20 relatively short segments that feature different instrumental sections of the band. Strings dominate certain parts, reeds make a frequent appearance, and the falsetto vocalizing of Bauer, Droese, and Richelshagen permeate varying parts. Kowald himself does not play but instead accepts the conductor’s role. All the compositions are the work of Kowald, and he uses the dynamics of the orchestra as an instrument to ebb and flow through the movements. Quiet passages are followed by boisterous collective improvising, and then the opus reverts to a serene mode. Allow your mind to sink into this nether world and explore all the nuances, for there is much to absorb."
Peter Kowald conducts the Ort Ensemble Wuppertal
Evan Parker, Lê Quan Ninh, and Carlos Zingaro
Jochen Bauer: voice
Matthias Beck: cello
Irmel Droese: voice
Gunda Gottschalk: violin, viola
Christoph Iacono: piano
Christoph Irmer: violin
André Issel: double bass
Jan Keller: double bass
Anne Krickeberg: cello
Anja Lautermann: flute
Andreas Leep: guitar, bass
André Linnepe: guitar, clarinet
Karola Pasquai: flute
Günther Pitscheider: double bass
Judith Richelshagen: voice
Jean Sasportes: alto saxophone
Robin Scheffel: guitar
Katrin Scholl: violin
Justin Sebastian: trumpet
Angelika Sheridan: flute
Ingo Stanelle: alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Rainer Wentz: clarinet, bass clarinet
Evan Parker: soprano saxophone
Lê Quan Ninh: percussion
Carlos Zingaro: violin
Peter Kowald: conducting
Recorded by Jürgen Kausemann on October 5th & 6th and October 21st & 22nd, 1995, at the Artcore Studio in Wuppertal.
Mastered by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Peter Kowald and Jost Gebers.
Booklet layout: Peter Klassen.
Cover and liner photos: Nicole Aders