Juan María Solare; Instrumentals 1

Juan María Solare in Kürten August 2002
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)


Friedeman Boltes [trumpet on track 1] - Jin Won Yoon [viola on track 2] - Ensemble Thürmchen [on track 3] - Erik Oña [cond. on track 3] - Juan María Solare [piano on tracks 4, 10, 12, 13, 19, 20] - Andreas van Zoelen [bass saxophone on track 5] - Sonja Günzel [flute on track 6] - Diego Montes [clarinet on track 6] - Amy Leung [cello on tracks 6, 11] - Thomas Brögger [flute on track 7] - Gert Kapo [piano on track 8] - Martin Vogel [clarinet on track 9] - Mayumi Hasegawa [violin on track 9] - Monika Schwamberger [cello on track 9] - Cristina Haigis [voice on tracks 13, 19] - Jürgen Schaal [trombone on track 14] - Sascha Jacobsen [double bass on track 14] - Eric Huebner [piano on track 14] - Bertolt Brecht [text on track 15] - Richard Mix [bass on track 15] - Ulrich Krieger [saxophone on track 15] - Masao Tanibe [guitar on track 16] - Pedro Minuera [guitar on track 16] - Blandine Menard [guitar on track 16] - Mehmet Özkanoglu [guitar on track 16] - Laurence Vialle [violin on track 17] - Finn Möricke [viola on track 17] - Nanja Breedijk [harp on track 17] - Gilbert Delor [guitar on track 17] - Kees Wieringa [piano on track 17] - Frédéric Inigo [cond. on track 17] - Guido Arbonelli [bass clarinet on track 18] - Javier Adúriz [text on track 20] - Eiko Morikawa [soprano on track 20]

Solare Private Edition. Duration: 79:50

1. Israfil (Friedeman Boltes; trumpet) [2:55]

2. Trenoida (Jin Won Yoon; viola) [4:02]

3. Icarus (Ensemble Thürmchen; Erik Oña, cond.) [5:10]

4. Anochecer en Ushuaia (Juan María Solare; piano) [2:57]

5. Carpe Noctem (Andreas van Zoelen; bass saxophone) 8:20]

6. Ben Oni - once variaciones sobre un tema implícito (Sonja Günzel; flute - Diego Montes; clarinet - Amy Leung; cello) [5:52]

7. Epiclesis (Thomas Brögger; flute) [4:52]

8. Fastango (Gert Kapo; piano) [4:15]

9. Passacaglia über Heidelberg (Martin Vogel; clarinet - Mayumi Hasegawa; violin - Monika Schwamberger; cello) [7:28]

10. In the Middle of Nowhere (Juan María Solare; piano) [3:31]

11. Monaden I (Amy Leung; cello) [2:06]

12. Kabstraktion (Juan María Solare; piano) 5:37]

13. Mala leche (Cristina Haigis; song - Juan María Solare; piano) [3:35]

14. Nenia in memoriam Juan Pedro Franze (Jürgen Schaal; trombone - Sascha Jacobsen; double bass - Eric Huebner; piano) [8:09]

15. Schwächen (Bertolt Brecht; text - Richard Mix; bass - Ulrich Krieger; saxophone) [2:27]

16. Canon de la tortuga negra from Tetramorfos; four quartets for guitars (Masao Tanibe, Pedro Minuera, Blandine Menard, Mehmet Özkanoglu; guitars) [3:54]

17. Spaghetisssimo for varied setting (1 - 6 instrumentalists) (Laurence Vialle; violin - Finn Möricke; viola - Nanja Breedijk; harp - Gilbert Delor; guitar - Kees Wieringa; piano - Frédéric Inigo; cond.) [2:35]

18. Within (Guido Arbonelli; bass clarinet) [1:20]

19. Ajedrez I. (Juan María Solare; piano - Cristina Haigis; soprano) [2:20]

20. Distancia from Ligia Lieder (Javier Adúriz; text - Eiko Morikawa; soprano - Juan María Solare; piano) [3:15]

Isfrail cracks down on your unsuspecting abilities with the darnest speed and might right off; no time to adjust – but it’s elegant in it’s intensity, dancing, swirling, the trumpet like a spinning-top all across the floor, like a gyro, keeping its balance by sheer speed and centrifugal force!
The style and grace, the elegance… and the golden flow, the fast glissandi, crescendos and diminuendos make me feel like I’m in the Sülztalhalle in Kürten again, hearing some magnificent performance by Markus Stockhausen or William Forman, while it really is Friedemann Boltes, and it ends on an upsurge, as if halting in mid air, or like cardiac arrest in the middle of hanging your fishing nets to dry… Yes, who knows what comes first: tomorrow or next life!

Trenoida is recorded close-up, in an extreme dryness of sound, just like I want the viola to appear. Jin Won Yoon’s viola is just as dry here as the violin on those famous recordings on Musical Observations of Morton Feldman’s For John Cage and Spring of Chosroes, with Paul Zukofsky fiddling. I like to feel the taste of white chalk in my mouth when listening, and I do so hear. It’s almost perverse, or like a gross sexual encounter up against the blackboard… Wow!

Icarus is an ensemble piece, performed here by Ensemble Thürmchen. This sounds like a real Central European chamber piece, they way you would want it when studying post-war paintings and taking down notes of whatever poetic thoughts arrive at the level of consciousness. In other words, I feel very much at home here, as I enjoy immensely those art exhibit moments of shivering transparency, when the fragility of light touches upon the colors and gestures of the art, setting your poetic enigma ablaze with sudden spurs of lingual creativity. There are many names that come to the surface here; Hanns Eisler is one!

Anochecer en Ushuaia features Solare himself on the piano, in a meditative, slowly treading piece, making its way through the garden, searching out entomological details in the underbrush, while also taking the opportunity to sit down and relax a while at the garden furniture, white and a bit moist in the grotto of a weeping willow, fending flies off with an absentminded gesture of the hand. This is how inwardly spiraling this little piece is, screwing itself down into the midst of itself, where the view is free across the inner expanses.
The fingerings across the keyboard are de-rhythmisized yet rhythmic in an off-manner that reminds me of people I’ve seen sitting at the piano in a bar or concert hall after hours, when the concert is over with and done, when all the folks have left and just your girlfriend is waiting down by the door, coat on and handbag across her shoulder, leaning against the doorway – and you sit up there, fingers tripping across the black-and-white, soothing…
Even considering the careless drift across the personal pronouns in the vision above, I think it accurately conveys the feeling of this short piece.

Juan María Solare at William Forman's seminar i Kürten 2002
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

Carpe Noctem, as opposed, of course, to… or maybe in addition to… carpe diem, is another story. This is serious stuff, if it isn’t Daddy Longlegs swaggering down a dark cartoon lane…
Andreas van Zoelen treats the bass saxophone with a persuasive slenderness, delivering the deep thoughts and rambling musical lingo in shadows across the brick walls, past trashcans and old debris out of the decades of a city…
This is the blues of city life on the brink, achieved in these soloist blowjobs! Grand!

Ben Oni is played by a small chamber group on flute, clarinet and cello.
It starts with a twitch of the neck and a glance across the sidewalk café; one of those incidents that almost happened and might have changed your life if it had. The rest of the piece, to me, is the fragmented thoughts and daydreams about this new life that occurred twenty feet away as a possibility and then disappeared in the traffic. At times the clarinet and the flute team up in longer garlands, though some distance apart pitchvise, bending and pulling at the sleeve like that weighing moment after the glance, worlds in friction, continents adrift breaths away! Highly tasteful for a connoisseur of sound!

Epiclesis is a medium-sized flute piece, played by Thomas Brögger. It has a Lou Harrison luster and a Mediterranean light of a young curly-haired adolescent god of the Greeks. The searching flute wanders among ruins of dreams along the coast line, rocks rising inland, a calm surf arriving steadily from the blue of the sea which merges with the blue of the sky in the distance, where mirages of a distant future dances over the horizon.
It’s a calm, +30&Mac176; melody with loneliness attached.

Fastango has Gert Kapo at the piano instead of the composer. A strangely familiar melody arises, or is it just the idiom that is familiar? I don’t know, but it brings on feelings of old piano legends like Moriz Rosenthal, Ignaz Friedman, Nicolas Medtner, Emil von Sauer and Josef Hoffman – and surely this is a play on old piano traditions. It could have been recorded at one of those Piano Abends, those intimate, closed-circuit concerts in the homes of the well to do in the Europe of the turn of the century around 1900. Magnificent display, Solare!

Passacaglia über Heidelberg is a chamber piece of about seven minutes, featuring clarinet, violin and cello. I can see the composer standing back, stretching his hand with his tonal brush towards the canvas of the score, applying some searching strokes, the tones, timbres, pitches sticking to the surface in delicate, transparent figures, but something is the matter when the clarinet extends a long, static tone that pierces the score like a line of color with a fixed purpose, aiming at below–the-horizon events, blocked out from view by the curvature of Earth, the curvature of Time, that which causes gravity.
At places inside this work the instruments tend to drift apart, dissolving into their partials, brewing like a cloud on a summer’s day, a thunder clap rising out of the desert floor… but no release of lightning, no hail storm… and it all boils down into a dissolving cloud of free-flowing plasma until the players come together in their original chamber tradition, again getting their musical molecules and consequent organic figures together, materializing in the hear-and-now, sort of in the corner of the eye. Nice, strange…

In the Middle of Nowhere again features Juan María Solare on piano, in a rather short piece, which got a mighty gush of chords for a beginning, almost impressionistic by character. It is clear right away that things aren’t allowed to continue that way throughout. Instead sizeable pauses are inserted, or should I say colored silences, by definition of Stockhausen? Thing is, inside these colored silences between regular piano sounds, Solare makes all kinds of fuzz, like playing directly on the piano frame, directly on the strings etcetera, slamming the lid and more. It gets really 1960s’ avant-garde there for a while. At 1’32” into the work it does sound like he is using a ring modulator, but I’m not sure he is not achieving this peculiarity just acoustically, some way. He does not take this avant-gardism as far as Karl-Erik Welin, who sawed his piano apart with a chain-saw back in the 60s, also accidentally cutting into his leg, having to be carried off the stage bleeding and rushed to hospital…
I get the impression someone is sweeping the floor around the piano, and as a backdrop to all kinds of short, wooden sounds a deep, dark chord rumbles away, slowly dissipating. Some jangling, jingling hinge sounds appear inconspicuously towards the end.
Solare has managed to pack these three and a half minutes with highly interesting events!

Monaden I is even shorter, Amy Leung appearing on soloistic cello, in a combination of short – at the beginning – and long strokes of the bow, painting a landscape of tight alleys between bamboo fences below some Japanese, mist-veiled, snow-capped mountain, all senses of the habitants facing away from the Self of the sound which passes through this alley, away into the lives of the families at the core of Japanese society, where the lonely wolf of this cello pries, unnoticed… and disappearing…

Kabstraktion is shorter, even, with just an allowance of 1’46’’. Solare plays the piano. It starts with a bang, continues in the sound of floor sweeping or gigantic sleeves rasping across the environment, as brittle notes tingle like light reflections in the jingle jangle of jewelry – and it’s over…

Mala leche (does it translate “bad milk”?!) is interesting, as it introduces singing – Cristina Haigis – with Solare’s piano playing.
Here Solare changes around completely, playing a mellow, charming but intense melody, which could be out of a pool hall or a café, were it not for the hesitant breaking of the rhythm, which points towards musical sophistication and poetic diligence. Miss Haigis’s vocals are indeed heard as if from an inner room in some hotel lobby, as if just around the corner, as she wanders gracefully between the tables of the guests. It’s not a Lieder, but rather appears to me like something La Argentinita could have sung with Federico Garcia Lorca at the piano in 1931 (If you haven’t heard those Lorca-Argentinita tracks, be sure to try them out on
Sonifolk 20105!)
I find myself listening to this melody many times over, before I continue this CD, so I realize the piece has a mighty power over my senses. Very beautiful in an unexpected way! Surprise again, Señor Solare! But… what about the title; is there a milkman’s lament in there somewhere?

Nenia in memoriam Juan Pedro Franze comes in trombone, double bass and piano, and is quite more extensive than the preceding shorter works.
The piano moves slowly like the sea just outside the harbor inlet, the trombone tones passing calmly like the sight of white sails above the pier, the fresh smell of the sea in your nostrils.
The trombone extends open spaces in its transparent, translucent gazes, just a few white clouds brewing from below the horizon.
Later in the work some chords where trombone and double bass mingle take on a late renaissance, early baroque atmosphere, in sudden flashbacks of former lives.
It also here that I get reminded of the purely instrumental sections of Petr Kotik’s setting of Gertrude Stein’s texts in
Many Many Women; this layered ensemble feel of soaring aloofness, suspended weightlessness of the mind, a musical expression of enlightenment.
However, there is a farmer in the piece too, walking his pastures, hammering down the poles of a barbed wire fence, probably somewhere in the 1940s, in the underlying rhythmical structures which are more understood than actually audibly stated… but there he walks, probably after the war.

Schwächen has Richard Mix singing Brecht in his bass voice, and Ulrich Krieger handling his saxophone. Krieger hits it off with a flash and an extended note, elastically protruding, until Mix arrives in the depths of his mighty voice. The saxophone playing is inventive, and I can’t, at first, really refer what I hear to the instrument - or perhaps, even, sounds are leaking in from an adjacent room where something totally different is going on. It almost feels like it, unless Solare, without telling me, has added some low-key electronics to the piece. The saxophone and the voice takes turns, expressing something that I can’t really understand, linguistically, but it feels weighed down, slightly above middle-age and slumped down heavily in an armchair, not much more to expect from this particular life… Nice!

Canon de la tortuga negra comes out of a larger work; Tetramorfos. It’s a quartet for guitars.
It is rhythmically pointed, and very counter-pointed, of course. It’s sounds, I suppose, the way you could expect. It is full of slashing tones, vibrating off of the strings, which are also stroked at times, producing those sounds you often hear from guitars in any work where a guitar is used, but usually as a by-product, not actually sought-out.
This is dense, high grass bending in the sunlight, and you making your way through it, up-tempo and in a jolly spirit, maybe with a slightly off-color shadow of fairytale confusing you a little, as to where your reality might actually lay… if you stop to think…

Spaghetissimo is written for a variable instrumentation, but here Solare has chosen violin, viola, harp, guitar and piano.
It comes off as a rather introverted specter of sounds, all together weaving a mysterious web of half-hidden secrets, in the moss, in the underbrush of the forest; those gleaming secrets of goldcrests and spidery webmasters of the shady sections between tall, dark spruces. The atmosphere of the music has a patina of age or perhaps even timelessness, or at least the moment is standing totally still in a stream of time which flows around, but not through, this piece. Peculiar! Tempting!

Within is a very short piece for bass clarinet, played by Guido Arbonelli. He’s performing the work in a kind of xöömej, khoomei style, like he is throat-singing, overtone-singing. A dark base provides an aboveness where the piercing timbres roam.

Ajedrez I again sets Solare at the piano and Cristina Haigis at the voice. I could perhaps repeat what I said about Mala leche, because the general auditive impression is the same, even though this is more Lieder-like. It’s more inaccessible, more austere, and you can’t just come stumbling in. You should enter silently and with respect. There is pride in this music, perhaps of some indigenous kind, or at least, anyway, out of a long, local tradition.

The last work on the CD is
Distancia from Ligia Lieder with a text by Javier Adúriz, and here even the title of the collection suggests Lieder as an idiom, and it really is too, in a held back tempo, the voice rising high above the circumstances, whilst the piano simply pumps slowly and safely way below, balancing the act, moving it carefully forward across this South European, Iberian landscape of vineyards and rolling hills and an Atlantic coast which can barely be sensed a half day’s march ahead. Eiko Morikawa is the soprano. Beautiful!