Inspired by the play of light in nature and in art, Roland Dahinden creates soundscapes that gleam with aural luminescence, so suggestive of visual phenomena that his work borders on the synesthetic. Similar in its calm ambience and its sense of suspended time to works by John Cage and Morton Feldman, Silberen for piano and string quartet is slow, meditative, and austere in its sonorities, evocative of the chalkstone landscape of the Silberen mountain range. Dahinden's spare notes and chords are treated as pure sounds, interlocking but without melodic connections or harmonic functions, and the cycling of pitches seems independent of structure and direction. The absence of any clear arrival point concentrates the listener's attention on events in the moment, which are touched on briefly then replaced by new combinations. Pianist Hildegard Kleeb and the Arditti Quartet are controlled and guardedly expressive, and their nuanced timbres reveal intense concentration. Bernd Thurner's meticulous performance of Lichtweiss for vibraphone is similarly focused and subdued. As muted as the subtly shaded monochrome paintings of Inge Dick, which stimulated Dahinden's imagination, this piece is based on refined gradations of attack, varied through the use of hard and soft mallets. Supervised by the composer, these works are accurately rendered and superbly recorded.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Lichtweiss, for vibraphone|