Michael Vorfeld

Sieben Freunde

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Sieben Freunde (Seven Friends) is subtitled "Music for percussion and string instruments." The array of percussion instruments used includes wood blocks, timpani, cymbals, conga, and various small objects, but no bass or snare drum. The string section is made of three home-built instruments: the Baßsaiter (low register), Tricord (middle register), and Hochsaiter (high register). They have a metallic sound when bowed (like a steel cello) and get close to a zither when plucked. Sieben Freunde is a 60-minute piece in 16 short movements. With each chapter a musical drama seems to unfold. The "strings" set the mood: often eerie, disquieting, even alarming, thanks to pitchless playing. The role of percussion is more selective and narrative, as they bring a sense of release to the tension of the strings. They bring punches, surprises, and link events together. In fact, the type of percussion instruments selected and the way the composer uses them imitates a sound effects engineer's work in a radio drama. Michael Vorfeld succeeds in creating drama and narrative without melodies, solos, or accompaniment. Only basic elements are used: the shift from bowing to plucking and from one to two or three string instruments at once, plus percussion. Crude but effective and disturbingly enticing, not unlike the music of Vorfeld's labelmate Stephan Froleyks. Needless to say, Sieben Freunde is for the very open-minded listener.

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