Transformation in Boston

Reading time: 2 min. Beat Furrer Sound Icon

On 25 February, Sound Icon in Boston presents a concert with the title “Zwei Meister”, in which they perform “monumental pieces by Helmut Lachenmann and Beat Furrer.

Furrer’s Narcissus-Fragment for 2 narrators and 26 instruments, which is an extraction from the opera Narcissus, receives its US première. Also on the programme is Nuun, for 2 pianos and ensemble.

Transformation is the theme of both works. In the Narcissus-Fragment, the two voices are embedded in the instrumental music, with the natural speech rhythm destroyed – mostly broken into syllables or isolated sounds. The instruments take over where the voices leave off with sounds often transformed into several layers before collapsing. Combination and separation permeate the work.

In his introduction to Nuun (read the full version here), Bernhard Günther writes, “The central principle is transformation, specifically on the rhythmic, harmonic and tonal planes, as a continuous process from the beginning to the end. Nuun is an almost unparalleled example of Furrer’s breadth of expression. The work goes from a thoroughly concise beginning to the final, lonely sound of the piano that eventually fades away into silence.”

Paavali Jumpannen and Yoko Hagino are the piano soloists and Brian Church and Douglas Williams the narrators. Jeffrey Means conducts Sound Icon.

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