*Contemporary Piece.* Complex and energetic work requiring pinpoint rhythmic accuracy and ability to swap instruments from sopranino to great bass.
1. Agnistoma II
_Score 8 pp. Parts 4 pp._
OMP062 Luigi Irlandini, Agnistoma II
Luigi Irlandini was born in 1958 and studied in Brazil, Italy with Franco Donatoni, and USA with Brian Ferneyhough. Of Agnistoma II the composer says that it "is a polyphonic elaboration of the rhythmic-melodic materials in Agnistoma I, a piece for voice, two soprano recorders, and didjeridu, on a hymn from the Rig Veda, and sung in Sanskrit".
The title, Agnistoma, means "in praise of fire", and the pyrotechnics get underway from the outset with a tapestry of triplet quavers woven together which, subsequently, develop into quintuplets. The texture is densely packed with all four voices almost continuously busy. Moments of repose occur when the players, originally required to play two altos and two tenors, are asked to change instruments, expanding the range from sopranino to great bass for a calm central section. Music similar in style to the opening signals the final section of this intense and difficult work.
Aficionados of contemporary music will enjoy studying Agnistoma II, whilst I, for one, eagerly await experiencing this particular piece, either as a performer or listener, when the blue touch paper is lit on the concert stage.
Adam J Dopadlik, The Recorder Magazine, Winter 2001
OMP067 Benjamin Thorn Deep Sea Perspectives
OMP065 Tony Lewis Zaida Gaire
OMP062 Luigi Irlandini Agnistoma II
Though very different from each other, these ensemble pieces have something in common: their primary difficulty is rhythmic, not technical. Benjamin Thorn's Deep Sea Perspectives is the most accessible of the three. It offers two through-composed movements in a very conservative melodic style with simple tonal harmonies. The first movement, in G minor, is in a gently-flowing 6/7 meter that is not difficult to negotiate. The second movement develops from the same initial motif as the first, but recast in C Major and in a 5/8 meter that is sometimes grouped 3+2, other times 2+3. That wouldn't be terribly hard, were it not for the very fast tempo demanded by Thorn. At crotchet=150, this movement is quite difficult to maintain.
Zaida Gaire by Tony Lewis is a rhythmically-driving and highly-repetitive minimal work in a pan-diatonic language. It sets against each other different melodic/rhythmic patterns, consisting mostly of eighth notes and eighth rests, resulting in an abundance of hockets. While the individual parts may be fairly easy to play by themselves, performing them together is quite a task. This piece requires a great deal of precision and focus.
Luigi Irlandini's Agnistoma II, the least accessible of these works, is uninteresting to play and difficult to execute and conceptualise. The recorders chromatically hover over narrow tessituras, often clashing with each other in intervals of a second. Rhythmically it features an aperiodicity that is generated from tying together odd-shaped rhythmic cells. The rhythmic contours that result from this procedure are extremely complex and precisely notated. They must also be precisely-performed.
These editions are nicely printed and have no bad page turns. Deep Sea Perspectives is suitable for advanced amateurs. Zaida Gaire requires a very high-end amateur group working with a good teacher. Agnistoma II is strictly for professionals.
Pete Rose, American Recorder, March 2003