Conrad Bauer

Bauer Bauer

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A concert between two trombone-playing brothers does not sound like an evening of thrills, chills, and spills. True enough, it's not. However, when those brothers happen to be Austria's Bauer brothers, a pair for whom the trombones mean gateways to higher sonic civilizations, the effects can be, to say the least, dizzying. Recorded in Poland in 1993, the set features six "Dialog" pieces and two "Monolog" pieces (one by each Bauer). The most striking thing about the music these two make together is its reliance on tonal conventions for a sturdy base from which to improvise. Here, listeners can hear traces of Strauss' harmonics, Wagner's counterpoint, and Webern's atonalism, all entwined in a Gordian knot that opens up onto micro and polytonal improvisation. There are cues and patterns, but they are merely traces, ghost languages even, for the pair to move off from in search of deeper, wider harmonic sources of inspiration and adventure. The imprints of jazz, classical, and popular music are all left here, but none of them can contain this wondrously subdued, carefully and emotionally wrought performance, displaying timbral science as it creates widely divergent color schemes in the form of music. This is true wizardry; even when it doesn't burn, it burns.

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