The composer Jürg Frey, one of the most distinct voices in contemporary music (...)
“Elemental Realities” was stylistically more radical than other works on offer at the festival; at the same time, it was more assured in its formal control. — Alex Ross, “The Otherwordly Harmony of Jürg Frey", The New Yorker , October 29, 2019
Jürg Frey: I Listened to the Wind Again
Hélène Fauchère - Soprano, Carol Robinson. - Clarinet, Nathalie Chabot - Violin, Agnès Vesterman - Cello, Garth Knox - Viola, Sylvain Lemêtre - Percussion
The Best Contemporary Classical on Bandcamp: October 2021
By Peter Margasak
The apparent simplicity of means deployed by Swiss composer Jürg Frey—arguably the best-known figure of the Wandelweiser Collective—illustrates how few contemporary composers possess equal mastery of form and contrast. The work was commissioned by the Louth Contemporary Music Society for a 2017 performance, and this new reading is astonishing, building from a series of often frictive, short lines that patiently begin to form a gorgeous melodic sequence over time while only heightening the weft and density of his translucent timbre.
The breathy haze that filters through the striated strings (Gath Knox on viola, Nathalie Chabot on violin, and Agnès Vesterman on cello), mostly rubbed percussion (achieved by Sylvain Lemêtre) and crystalline clarinet (played by the great Carol Robinson) feels weightless and profound, and the way soprano Hélène Fauchère articulates Frey’s quotation heavy text and teases out phantom melodic accents from within the meticulous linearity, sends the music into the sublime. The way her voice fits the unfolding score seems to expand similarly to the vocal exercises on Frey’s superb piece from 2013, 24 Wörter. The composer’s genius at context and scale, forever reconsidering what a particular sound or phrase means within one bar versus another, injects his limited material with incredible depth and complexity.