Other than Morton Feldman, no two composers studied the concept of silence in their works more than Jon Cage and Antoine Beuger. On this recording, clarinetist Jürg Frey flawlessly performs signature works by each composer that have at their center the notion of becoming. In fact, it is unceasing becoming in that these works are very conscious of the fact that they attain utterance through the prominent place of silence, that everything comes from silence and returns there. In Beuger's "Dialogues (Silence)," the composer has written a series of sound structures, all of them preceded and followed by noted silences. Between the silence after one structure and before another there is the sound of a page being turned, the sonance of one silence in between, and thus entering two more. The structures play on dynamics and timbre, all of them very deliberately spaced and contoured to accent the process of becoming that silence itself dictates. In Cage's "Music for One," the move is to acknowledge the infinite extension of silence established by going through a score where wildly differing dynamics are chosen by Frey as he feels they are dictated by Cage's score, which has no duration, no ending point, really, just a series of pitches to be chosen and played by one musician at will for as long or as short as he pleases. This brings equanimity to music as well as the notation of sound in the silences. Dynamics are remarkable in that they range from piercing silence with a screeching "f" to a warm "mp" to a barely audible "p." Because of such variations, Frey is able to make the silences themselves audible. A glorious combination of works that has not been recorded before, Frey has given us deeper entrance into the murky and playful worlds of both composers.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek