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Extreme expression and fragile beauty meet in the music of Jonah Haven. The composer understands his work as an exploration of his own life and existentially human experiences such as despair, loss and isolation.

Driven by a constant search for the new, Haven draws from a broad palette of sounds. In the mostly small-scale works of the portrait, there are microtonal shifts in the accordion duet "i burn a million years," for example. Elsewhere, remnants of tonal, traditional music shine through under distorted and perforated sounds generated largely by multiphonics, as in "slip letting by hand," a duet for violin and cello.

Many of the pieces audibly push the musicians to their physical limits, as in "aren't wet" for prepared bassoon and violin with prepared bow, in which the two dissimilar instruments converge sonically through the preparations and amplification. In the large ensemble piece "gasser," likewise the title of this portrait, high registers and the lack of pauses for breath create a barely avoidable “gasping” when the instrumentalists take in air. Booklet author Gordon Kampe resumes: "In ‘gasser’, supposedly austere beauty tilts into a human – because imperfect – beauty through various sonic contaminations, a process which links nearly all the pieces with each other."

A release of Edition Zeitgenössische Musik
Coproduction Deutschlandfunk and Deutscher Musikrat gGmbH (1, 3-6) | Coproduction Schweizer Radio and Fernsehen (SRF) and Deutscher Musikrat gGmbH (2)


aren't wet for prepared bassoon and violin with prepared bow
gasser for 8 musicians
another ditch for alto flute, percussion, and viola
starnge nest for bass clarinet, piano and cello
slip letting by hand for prepared violin and (not prepared) cello
i burn a million years for microtonal accordion duet



Wolftone / Ensemble Proton Bern / Gregor Mayrhofer: conductor / Ensemble Recherche / Trio Catch / Duo XAMP

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61 ′5 ′′

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WER 64412
0,1 kg

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German Music Council / Contemporary Music Edition

In its renowned Contemporary Music Edition the German Music Council set itself the task of creating a basic listening library of contemporary composition in Germany. The edition is distinguished by the high quality of the performances and of the accompanying texts. It includes recordings by renowned interpreters and ensembles, often under the direction of the composer; the carefully edited booklets present the composers and musicologists in analyses of the works and in aesthetic commentaries. For more information on the composers within the Contemporary Music Edition (including biographies, lists of works and audio samples), please click here.


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