Magazine article Gramophone

B Lang: Monadologie XII

Magazine article Gramophone

B Lang: Monadologie XII

Article excerpt

B Lang

Monadologie XII

Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke

GOD Records [F] [2] (CD + [LP]) GOD16 (114' * DDD)

Bernhard Lang's title might lead you to think classic-period modernism but Monadologie XII turns out to be a composer's re-visioning of jazz. We slip into terrain previously occupied by Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto, Milhaud's La creation du monde and Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, but not entirely comfortably. Lang clearly has a healthy respect for jazz. He knows that an Austrian composer writing in 2011 had better keep some circumspect distance from his source material to avoid sponging off jazz's irresistibly charismatic surface and thereby becoming a dilettante. And it is this cool composerly distance, the hot inner workings of jazz revealed only gradually, that makes Monadologie XII such an unusually stimulating and emotionally uplifting experience.

But we're kept guessing. GOD Records issues Monadologie XII on vinyl (with a CD version discreetly tucked into the package). Stark white lettering imprinted against the jet-black grain of the double-fold LP cover offers no guidance apart from namechecking the 10 players of Klangforum Wien, and the first set of sounds you hear are appropriately ambiguous. …

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