CD Review – The Guitar Music of Karl Korte

CD – The Guitar Music of Karl Korte
Centaur CRC 3059
Artist – Duo46, violin and guitar

How do you put into words what is essentially a “stream of consciousness” experience and capture the composer’s main ideas?  It’s one thing to write about an evocative scene that describes the beauty of the Alhambra, quite another to get inside the complex musical ideas and rhythms of Karl Korte (b. 1928).  As the liner notes indicate, music by this distinguished American composer is difficult to classify.  His compositions reflect influences of Maori, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese and other cultures.  He is an explorer – a discoverer – and a reinterpreter.  His aim “to blur the boundaries between the instruments” works extremely well in this collection for guitar, violin and cello.

Duo46 (American guitarist Matt Gould and violinist Beth Ilana Schneider-Gould)  are joined by cellist Erich Oskar Huetter in the 2004 composition Evocation, a work that “evokes” impressions from the composers travels – both actual and imagined.  The intricate rhythmic ideas must surely require enormous effort and concentration by the performers – lots of sideways glances and nodding gestures – making a live performance perhaps nerve-wracking for the musicians and intellectually engaging for the audience.

This same feeling occurs again in the duo’s interpretation of Two Makams (2003) in which the asymmetric patterns found in Turkish time signatures shift throughout the piece.  Both Matt and Beth are on firm footing due to their own extensive and distinguished work around the world, including their residency at Eastern Mediterranean University in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2004.

The 2010 release of this CD highlights the immense artistry and musical scholarship of these two fine musicians.  Their extensive repertoire, extending back to the ensemble’s 1994 formation, is noteworthy for their strong advocacy of chamber music from the past 100-odd years.  Bravo to them both!  This CD will reward a serious listener with its riches and insights.

Dan S.

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