Friday, 18 November 2016

Daniel Kientzy - Kientzy à Cluj (1999)

This post is a shout-out to the always great Spook City USA, for introducing me to today's main performer via a truly essential Octavian Nemescu disc.  Sax virtuoso Daniel Kientzy is French, but has become most closely associated with the Romanian avant-garde.  Since getting into Iancu Dumitrescu, I wondered if he'd ever called on Kientzy, and he has - on a 2005 piece called Nadir Latent - doesn't seem to have been released on album yet though.  So for today, we're heading north west of Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca, the creative hub for the four composers featured on this Kientzy release.

Unlike Dumitrescu, where you're spoiled for choice in readily available releases, Doina Rotaru, Călin Ioachimescu, Cornel Ţăranu and Stefan Niculescu all have slim discographies, let alone findable CDs, making a compilation like this all the more valuable if Romanian spectralism takes a hold on you like it has with me.  These three concertos and one choral work were all written with Kientzy in mind, and make for brilliantly mind-bending listening; the fact that such richly-textured music is led by an instrument more readily associated with jazz sometimes gives the impression of listening to Gershwin's orchestral work on some extremely strong hallucinogens.

Kienty's hardly a typical sax player in any genre, coaxing unearthly skronks from his battery of saxes; one possible comparison might be VDGG's David Jackson, and that still doesn't do Kientzy justice.  The long, low-register lines at the start of the Rotaru piece could bore through solid rock, and her concerto, along with the Ioachimescu one that follows, both feature stabbing, staccato bursts at times that are particularly memorable.  Stay around for the most atypical piece at the end of the disc - Stefan Niculescu's Axion features Kientzy flitting over the top of a Ligeti-esque female choir like some wonderful extraterrestrial version of Hilliard/Garbarek's Officium being beamed across the galaxy.

Kientzy à Cluj : Musique roumaine d'aujourd'hui