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The Guitar Music Of Karl Korte

Korte / Gould / Schneider / Hutter
Release Date: 09/28/2010 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3059   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Karl Korte
Performer:  Erich Oskar Huetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo 46
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

KORTE Evocations 1,2. 2 Makams. 1 Virtual Voices 1 1 Duo46; 2 Eric Oskar Huetter (vc) CENTAUR 3059 (50: 07)

Karl Korte (b.1928) is a scrupulous composer of music that’s of high quality and not easily categorized (disclosure: though I’ve never met him, I wrote the notes for Read more one of his CDs, and am cited on his Web site). These three works are the fruit of his ongoing recent collaboration with Duo46: Matt Gould, guitar, and Beth-Ilana Schneider-Gould, violin.

Korte has a gift for writing music that’s fluid (it always has an idea and knows how to develop it), focused on clear and memorable motives, and harmonically rich but neither chromatically clotted nor too tonally predictable. He has a naturally sophisticated rhythmic sense. Two of the three works also show a sympathy for musics from non-Western classical traditions. The trio Evocations (2004) takes inspiration from New Zealand Maori, Japanese, and Cypriot sources. The 2003 Two Makams are derived from Turkish musical practice. In all of these there’s a sense of natural engagement with these traditions, neither ethnographically slavish nor culturally cavalier.

Another form of engagement is with the electroacoustic tradition, represented by Virtual Voices (2007), for the duo with fixed media accompaniment. This is a substantial work, almost 20 minutes long, with the electronic component being a recording derived from samples of the performers that are in turn processed and layered. The blend is subtle and smooth; rarely are there dramatically perceptible differences between the live and recorded. Rather, one feels a general expansion of the performative field. My only reservation is that without seeing the piece I find it hard at times to distinguish what is “live” and what “taped” (shades of Memorex!). This isn’t a criticism of the piece, so much as of the best means of presentation and archiving. But all composers do their best with what they can.

Perhaps Korte’s greatest contribution is simply creating this body of work for Duo46. I’ve been hearing of them for some years now, and this recording shows them to be superb players. Their instrumentation is a beautiful balance—two strings, both relatively homogeneous in timbre but with a wide variety of special effects, one plucked and one bowed (though of course the violin has pizzicato in its arsenal). Similar and also very different. The result is an extremely satisfying chamber sound. I know there’s a good deal of literature for this pairing, but most that I know of tends to be more in the parlor/salon genre. Duo46 (four strings and six strings, I assume) demonstrates with this disc that composers should be stepping up to the plate and creating works of substance and variety for the medium, as it seems quite capable of handling them.

Overall, a very appealing project, well performed and produced.

FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

Evocations, for 2 guitars & cello by Karl Korte
Performer:  Erich Oskar Huetter (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo 46
Period: Modern 
Written: 2004 
Date of Recording: 10/15/2004 
Venue:  Magusa, TRNC Eastern Mediterranean Unive 
Length: 20 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Two Makams, for 2 guitars by Karl Korte
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo 46
Period: Modern 
Written: 2003 
Date of Recording: 10/15/2004 
Venue:  Magusa, TRNC Eastern Mediterranean Unive 
Length: 11 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Virtual Voices, for 2 guitars by Karl Korte
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo 46
Period: Modern 
Written: 2003 
Date of Recording: 10/11/2009 
Venue:  Phoenix, Arizona 
Length: 17 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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