Allende-Blin: Piano Music - Thomas Günther
Cybele SACD 160401
Classical - Instrumental
Juan Allende-Blin: Transformations IV, Sonatine 1-3, Zeitspanne, Dialogue für 2 Spieler
Thomas Günther (Gunther), piano
Review by John Broggio - December 24, 2006
Cybele here showcases some piano music of Juan Allende-Blin (a selection of his organ music may be found here: Allende-Blin: Organ Works - Gerd Zacher) comprising four pieces:
Transformations IV (1960)
Dialogue (1983) for 2 pianists, in which the composer himself joins Thomas Günther.
Of these, Transformations IV is a short experimental piece which is chiefly concerned with the interaction of complex sounds with (near) silence - Günther (and the acoustic!) carry this off well. The Sonatine has three short but distinct movements all with a discernible character; the first hints at being in sonata form, the second is a largely four part composition and the finale is a rondo but with irregular phrases.
Zeitspanne is, like Transformations IV, a study in sound and silence; however this is conceived on a much larger canvass (nearly 18 minutes in Günther's hands) and as such makes a larger impact on the listener because more room is given over to contemplation. The suspended and "false" notes are a marvellous acoustic device and the sheer sparsity of the composition consistently leads to surprises.
The longest piece by far is the Dialogue for 2 pianists. In this piece Allende-Blin tried to further the expressive possibilities of the piano, not by preparing the instrument in the manner of John Cage, but rather by the second pianist climbing inside the piano to form the "dialogue" for part of the composition. Again, much play is made from the lack of sound as opposed to the dense tone clusters for which many composers of this era had a fondness - at this point, it is only the new sound world that prevents the disc from falling into a repetitive (near) silence. This is not the most enjoyable or stimulating of Cybele's many contemporary music releases but not unrepeatable either.
Günther is good but not compelling enough to command the attention of all but the most dedicated listener. Another problem here is the condition of the piano - it is not in the finest shape and spoils whatever enjoyment might be garnered from these pieces; the Cybele recording is all too good at reflecting this.
Sadly not really recommendable.
Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net