The Mirror

by: Fritz Hauser & Stephan Grieder

These two Swiss musicians employ the use of the oldest instruments of Western civilization (percussion for all civilization) and fully acknowledge the weight of their associations -- sacral, ritual, and spatial. They then thread them through the "new music" needle to redefine them, or perhaps rediscover them, as individual entities with the possibilities for a shared future outside their historical constraints. The ten selections here, which map sound and improvisation in "areas," work rigorously to deconstruct all traditional notions of the organ as a sacred instrument -- and this is actually achieved more by Hauser's onslaught of tympani, cymbals, and drums than by Greider's organ playing. Note the somber harmonics present in "Area" and the explosive polytonality of "Der Kasten." Conversely, in this new space devoid of traditional meaning, Hauser seeks to imbue fresh thought by realigning both instruments in the context of free improvisation: "From Winds," "Spirale," and "Der Spiegel." Ligeti and Messiaen were the first to attempt to "de-center" the organ as the voice of all sacral and organized ritual, but Messiaen created another sonic cathedral with his seeking to reach beyond the organ's timbral extremes, and Ligeti used it to do away with it altogether. Hauser and Greider accept both these approaches as they accept those of antiquity, merely as information to be considered in the implementation of new schemata that reunite these instruments in their new spatial context of relationship. The results of this collaboration are edifying, sensitive, and truly profound. They reach through time and etch out a space in the ear of the listener, seeking to be heard on the merits of imagination and musical artistry. Brilliant. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi

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