Zbigniew Karkowski

World as Will

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Staalplaat's 1998 release of World as Will (the title is taken from Schopenhauer's famous philosophical work) comes as an anomaly in the output of its two collaborators. Zbigniew Karkowski and Tetsuo Furudate are most well-known for their electronic performances, but for this release they have collaborated on two fully composed orchestral works, played here by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Karkowski and Furudate continue a tradition most closely connected with Greek composer Iannis Xenakis (one of Karkowski's teachers and primary influences), where the orchestra creates a strange and bewildering sound world, far removed from most concert halls. The longer of the two pieces presented here, "Consolidated World," opens with thunderous drum beats, with the orchestra creating eerie drones that eventually overtake the drums. Augmented by an array of percussionists, the orchestra blends sirens, brass alarms, wailing voices, and other unidentifiable sounds. The authors' work in electronics is evident in some of their constructions, which sometimes sound like overlapped tape loops. "Floating World" is a piece for strings, starting with a cello line slowly rising to meet a constant tone without vibrato, then dissolving into a complex cacophony once the two lines meet. Xenakis' influence is in evidence here, but both pieces have lives of their own, and show that even after the orchestral advances of the serial composers, there is still interesting and challenging work written for orchestras today.

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