Zeynep Gedizlioğlu – Verbinden und Abwenden

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Composer portrait albums tend to go one of two ways, highlighting either the broad diversity of their output or the more single-minded consistency of a central idea permeating multiple works. In the case of Verbinden und Abwenden, a new disc exploring the music of Turkish composer Zeynep Gedizlioğlu, it’s most definitely the latter. And in a way, the consistent central idea is entirely summed up in that title, which the composer translates as “connect and reject”.

The particular way this tends to manifest in Gedizlioğlu’s music can be heard writ small in Sights of Now, a chamber work for two pianos and string quartet that opens the disc. The opening couple of minutes establish something of a paradigm for everything that will follow. Slow, uncertain chords – music so withdrawn it sounds like the instruments are reluctant to make any sound at all – are suddenly swept aside by rapid, scurrying material held together and driven along by manically rapid note repetitions from the pianos. As the piece continues, it’s as if the score wasn’t notated on paper but on large pieces of elastic that are constantly being stretched and relaxed, causing the pace and momentum to speed up and slow down. Every time i listen to the piece i find myself gravitating away from the details of the tempestuous dialogue going on at the music’s surface, focusing instead on this broader action of expansion and compression going on beneath. It doesn’t take much of a leap to hear this inner flexing as an articulation of the ‘verbinden und abwenden’ idea, the expansion pulling things apart and away from each other, causing the music to slow and falter, the compression pushing them closer together, resulting in rapid bursts of frantically interconnecting ideas. Read more

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