This book review first appeared in Tempo magazine, issue #268
JÜRG FREY: WERKBETRACHTUNGEN, REFLEXIONEN, GESPRÄCHE by Eva-Maria Houben (ed.). Edition Howeg, Zürich 2013
ANTOINE BEUGER: WERKANALYSEN UND HINTERGRÜNDE by Eva-Maria Houben & Burkhardt Schlothauer (ed.). Edition Howeg, Zürich 2013
it might have been music,
for I am touched and constantly think back to it.
The essays tend not to be very technical – a striking exception is Kathryn Pisaro’s essay on non-standard oboe fingerings in the oboe version of Beuger’s calme, étendue. But mostly, intricate analyses of formal structures and material relationships are absent, as is to be expected from a music that, at first glance, seems so simple as to be almost self-evident. Yet serious music never is self-evident, certainly not when the uncertain is so deep a part of its aesthetic. Such music has complex worlds of thought behind it, of the people thinking them, and the environments within which they work and play. The existing music-theory jargon is not always best suited to discussing all that. Hence the need for books like these, attempts by the community to find its own, appropriate and clear ways of talking.