Beat Furrer: Works for Choir and Ensemble

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(5 customer reviews)

Catalogue No: TOCC0360
EAN/UPC: 5060113443601
Release Date: 2016-08-01
Composer: Beat Furrer
Artists: Helsinki Chamber Choir, Nils Schweckendiek, Uusinta Ensemble

The music of Beat Furrer, Swiss-born (in 1954) and Vienna-based, has long attracted attention for its subtle exploration of the possibilities of the human voice. This first recording of his enigmas, a cycle of six a cappella settings of Leonardo (he has since added a seventh) demonstrates its striking emotional range, from rich, almost Romantic tonal warmth to dramatic avant-garde expressionism. It is complemented by two works which underline Furrer’s fondness for exploring sonority, timbre and texture.

Helsinki Chamber Choir
Uusinta Ensemble
Nils Schweckendiek

Listen To This Recording:

    enigmas I-VI for mixed choir a cappella (2006-2013)

  1. enigma I (2006)
  2. enigma II (2008)
  3. enigma III (2008)
  4. enigma IV (2010)
  5. enigma V (2012)
  6. enigma VI (2013)
  7. voices — still for mixed choir and ensemble (2001)
  8. …cold and calm and moving for flute, harp, violin, viola and cello (1992)*

All Except * First Recordings

5 reviews for Beat Furrer: Works for Choir and Ensemble

  1. :

    Beat Furrer is a Swiss-born composer living in Austria. These are modernist choral works which are extremely economical in their use of musical motifs. Don’t expect conventional singing. The music exploits a wide range of vocal techniques, including near-speech, exhalations and screeches – and silence. Where there is instrumental writing, it is very spare. The results are extremely atmospheric and beautiful, and at times mesmeric. The music is superbly performed. I had never come across this composer before, but I love these works.
    [Posted on and in iTunes store]

  2. :

    ‘…beautifully produced disc… The first four of six a cappela Enigmas (2006-13) swell and throb around darkly mystical prophesies of Leonardo da Vinci while preserving line and sense. … Rough breathing and extended vocal techniques crumple and then shred Leonardo’s words into the ghosts and shadows that are the object of his disturbed contemplation. … The tests on performers are even stronger, the expression is weaker and more diffuse, in voices – still (2001), which layers a lovely fragment of Virgilian pastoral over a previously composed ensemble piece. Restless, glittering textures offer much passing diversion on their way to another abrupt but satisfying conclusion. Even so, Furrer’s mastery of timing emerges with a more instinctively felt sense of rightness from the initially loose-leaved pages of …cold and calm and moving (1992). …the notes hang in suspended animation with no special place to go, and no pressing need to go there. Quiet poise and patience are required both by listeners and by performers, and supplied by the Uusinta Ensemble. As well as conducting with a sure hand, Nils Schweckendiek has written useful booklet-notes.’

    —Peter Quantrill, Gramophone, November 2016

  3. :

    ‘The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s immaculate ensemble, well-enunciated diction and rhythmic acuity, under the inspirational direction of Nils Schweckendiek all add up to a winning combination. The Uusinta Ensemble’s alert playing and profound musicianship are convincing and compelling. Schweckendiek’s booklet contribution is informative and successfully fills in the background. All are first recordings except for …cold and calm and moving. Well-recorded, these adventurous scores are showcased at their very best.’

    —Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International

  4. :

    ‘Furrer’s compositions are a treat for the lover of avant-garde vocal music. Toccata’s pristine sound gives the listener the feeling of having a fifth row center seat in an intimate concert hall. The booklet with the CD gives a great deal of information about the music […] I enjoyed this foray into the avant-garde and think many lovers of new vocal music will want to hear it.’

    —Maria Nockin, Fanfare Magazine, December 2016

  5. :

    ‘Aikamme persoonallisimpiin ja kiinnostavimpiin säveltäjiin lukeutuvan Beat Furrerin musiikki väistää perinteen asettamia ennakko-odotuksia ja toimii aivan omilla ehdoillaan. Siitä huolimatta se on intuitiivisesti, humaanilla tavalla puhuttelevaa. Kaksi Suomen musiikkivientiin viime vuosina ansiokkaasti osallistunutta kokoonpanoa, Helsingin kamarikuoro ja Uusinta Ensemble astuvat merkittäviin saappaisiin levyttäessään Beat Furrerin teoksia kuorolle ja soitinyhtyeelle—ja onnistuvat siinä erinomaisesti. […]

    Helsingin kamarikuoro ja Uusinta Ensemble yltävät kapellimestari Nils Schweckendiekin tarkassa ohjauksessa teoksen vaatimuksiin tarjoillen siitä ehyen kokemuksen.’

    —Ville Komppa, Yleisradio, January 2017

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