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Friday, August 17, 2012

Alexandre Danilevski, The Uncertainty Principle

The combination of early or archaic music and modernity that we discussed in part yesterday is with us again today, this time in the presence of present-day Russian-French composer Alexandre Danilevski and his The Uncertainty Principle (Adami CD-16291). There is an elaborate philosophy behind the four-work album that is mapped out in the liners. I will not go into the details because you can read about it at full-length when you get the CD.

Zsuzsanna Toth, soprano, Akira Tachikawa, countertenor, Larissa Groeneveld, cello, and Ensemble Syntagma, all under the director of the composer, create a musical universe where an uncanny combination of early music sonance and modernity take various places in the course of the musical unfolding.

"Landa" is a haunting song cycle for soprano, recorder, cello and lute. "Revelation (Offenbarung), In memoriam Alfred Schnittke" is a masterful piece for solo cello with transient space and a beautiful resonance. "Oda an die Traurigkeit" brings in the full ensemble, and in the beginning utilizes a droning not unrelated to early music organum, combined with contemporary expressive elements. There is a beautfully written and performed contrapuntal-round duet between soprano and countertenor with cello that stays in the mind and has an extraordinary sad beauty in some ways characteristic of an earlier age. The interlude that follows has soundscape ambiance and mystery. The final movement returns soprano and countertenor for more round-centered lamenting. "Antiphones" for recorder quartet has some exceptional early-late juxtapositions and sends the music to a final resting place that makes you want to hear more.

Alexandre Danilevski comes up with breakthrough music on the Uncertainty Principle. Not Arvo Part but a part of the early-late tendency today, Danilevski goes in original directions here and has a unique take on making the music of today more timeless. Recommended.


  1. Alexandre Danilevski. Koans.Fragments of Consciousness. 2016, Centaur. Performers: ensembles Syntagma and SurPlus.

  2. Alexandre Danilevski. "Koans. Fragments of Consciousness", 2016. Centaur Rec. Performers: ensembles Syntagma and Surplus