once before - and here's another phenomenal disc highlighting his close ties to some of Romania's most out-there composers of the 20th century.
Ștefan Niculescu, who was featured last on the Kluj disc, comes first this time, with his enjoyably mind-bending Cantos symphony, which also has variants for clarinet and orchestra, and for oboe, horn and clarinets. Naturally, this is the sax one, giving Kientzy plenty of room to drone and skronk over the hallucinatory backdrop. In the opening moments, which brought Vangelis to mind, I genuinely wondered if there were synthesisers involved, but nope, it's all orchestral. A highly memorable and wonderfully weird trip through Byzantine-inspired melodies and musical forms.
We've also heard from Myriam Marbe before on SGTG, and her half-hour Concerto For Daniel Kientzy And Saxophones here is a good counterpoint to the brilliantly oddball works on that collection. Kientzy starts solo, giving a great display of the range of his genius, before the ominous, fractured orchestral writing starts to fill out. Plenty of long sax drones here too, intended to imitate bagpipes at one point and featuring Kientzy on two saxes simultaneously (eat your heart out, Beefheart/VDGG!).
The disc is rounded off by Anatol Vieru's Narration II, another nicely bonkers piece of orchestral surrealism that subjects "Frère Jacques", of all things, to a series of chromatic mutations. Meanwhile, what sounds like a sozzled surf guitarist starts to stagger through the orchestra. The remainder of the work is nicely trippy and off-beam - Vieru sounds like he's mildly spiked the whole ensemble. Unique stuff, even in 20th century classical music, and really enjoyable.
mega / zippy