ACANTHIS

ACANTHIS

MCD2202
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It has been eighteen years since the Homburger - Guy Duo recorded an album together with a percussionist as a third partner. All these years ago we were joined by the revered Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre. On this recording we work together with another Swiss percussionist - the unique and endlessly creative Lucas Niggli who originally developed his art by studying with Pierre.

The music then consisted of baroque masterpieces as well as contemporary compositions that fulfilled our wish to present a “musical-stretching” concept where the two musical genres could faithfully coexist to take the listener on a magical mystery tour.

On this recording the “tour” continues, except on this occasion we have elected to offer a programme that is concurrent with our present times but we still want to promote the idea of “musical stretching”. No baroque music (this still happens though in our duo recitals) but a chance to hear some of the exquisite music by the iconic Hungarian composer György Kurtág, who cites J.S. Bach as one of his favourite composers. So, in a sense we have retained a link to the “old” music. Observe for instance Kurtág’s “Hommage à J.S.B.” which is spiritually related to the Double of Bach’s d minor Allemande BWV1004. We also have been privileged to receive a piece arranged by György Kurtág for our duo - “Hommage à Eberhard Feltz” based upon Samuel Beckett’s poem “Roundelay”. A version of this piece opens his opera “Endgame”, so with our love for Samuel Beckett’s work and György Kurtág’s connection to Beckett, we feel part of the family , so to speak.

Family ties aside, it certainly felt like an extremely close knit unit when Lucas Niggli joined us to create colourful and original improvisations with an uncanny knack of playing the right sound at precisely the moment where the written music invited an intervention. So, in “Celebration” and “Rondo for Nine Birds” (inspired by a beautiful drawing by the English artist Fred Hellier) Lucas had full reign to improvise imaginative counterpoints. In “Andeutende Dynamik” (my composition based on a triptych by the Hungarian artist András Wolsky) he joined us on the through - composed score which included improvised moments inspired by the paintings.

We were privileged to spend considerable time together with György and Marta Kurtág in Budapest, working in extreme detail on the one and a half minute long Duo piece “Hommage à Eberhard Feltz”. Within this session he also kindly listened to our Duo arrangements of his piano solo pieces. It’s a testimony to his generosity and flexibility as a composer that he appreciated the countless soundscapes we enter into together.

For this recording we were hosted by Stephan Colloredo in his Old Carpet Factory Studio on the Greek island of Hydra. It would be hard to find a more magical location !

The recording duties were taken care of by Adrian Hart, a violinist himself who fully understood and participated in the structuring of the soundscape which supports the varied music that this album offers.

We hope that this magical mystery tour continues to stretch the musical imagination.

For those who have an interest in such things : Maya Homburger played this music on a violin by the master luthier Stefan Peter Greiner built in 2020, and during the recording used various baroque bows by the makers Nelly Poidevin , Basil de Visser and Mick De Hoog to best realise the sound potential of each piece.

Barry Guy

Maya Homburger – violin, Barry Guy – bass, Lucas Niggli – percussion

1 Veni Creator Spiritus – Hymne 9th century, percussion, violin and bass
2 Hommage à J.S.B. – György Kurtág, violin and bass
3 Liquid Stone – Lucas Niggli, percussion solo
4 Celebration – Barry Guy, violin and percussion
5-9 Five for Anja – Barry Guy, violin and bass
10 Thus it happened – György Kurtág, violin and bass
11-13 Andeutende Dynamik – Barry Guy, violin, bass and percussion
14 Harbour Song – Lucas Niggli, percussion solo
15 Aglais – Barry Guy, violin and bass
16 Féerie d’automne – György Kurtág, violin solo

17-28 Rondo for Nine Birds – Barry Guy, violin, bass and percussion

I Rondo A – Wagtail
II Scatter – Greenfinch
III Violin Solo – Snipe
IV Line – Goldcrest
V Rondo B
VI Hommage à G. K. – Egret
VII Bass Solo – Robin
VIII Rondo C
IX As fast as practicable – Blackbird
X Slow – Tawny Owl
XI Rondo D
XII Fast – Lark

29 Elegie – György Kurtág, violin and bass
30 Roundelay – Samuel Beckett, voice Barry Guy
31 Hommage à Eberhard Feltz – György Kurtág, violin and bass