Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hakki Cengiz Eren, Color Studies

Relatively young (b. 1984) Turkish composer Hakki Cengiz Eren comes through with four outstanding high modernist compositions on the CD Color Studies (Ravello 7938). Sound color, as the title suggests, is a prominent aspect of these works. Indeed Eren excels in creating soundscapes that maximize the sonic contours of the instruments for each piece.

"Buffavento" features the large chamber ensemble Thornton Edge and depicts a castle in Northern Cyprus perched high atop the mountain range there. The structure's name literally means "buffeted by the winds." And accordingly the tone poem vividly brings to us in sound poetic terms an image of a structure isolated and exposed, yet providing a (one presumes) marvelous view of the area.

"Four Studies on Archipenko" is hauntingly scored for violin, Bb and bass clarinet, flute and harp. The extended techniques and moody sprawl Eren fashions for the quartet is played with great beauty by the chamber group ECCE.

"Music for Strings No. 1 (Doors)" is a relatively brief but sonically spectacular string quartet realized nicely by the Argus Quartet.

Finally, "Four Pieces for Solo Viola" weaves together a wide variety of color techniques and expressive pacing in a tour de force that gets superb results in the hands of violist Garth Knox.

All four works have a ravishing color sensibility and cohesiveness that marks Hakki Cengiz Eren as a vital creator on today's high modern scene. It's a wonderful program that I recommend to you without reservations. I hope we can hear more from this composer soon!

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