Last year Maciej Karlowski invited me to participate in the Ad Libitum Festival and perform four different concerts to celebrate my 60th birthday. From among the many projects I have been a part of, he chose three: The Aurora trio, which had been performing regularly for over ten years and has released four CDs; the piano solo El Laberint de la Memòria; and the Thunder trio, which was a world première. The fourth concert was an invitation to play and conduct a group of Polish musicians who had teamed up just for the occasion.
I have to admit that Maciej's choice surprised me as it could not have been a more motley selection, offering a range of rather disparate proposals and representing a wide range of musical projects in which I am currently immersed. But then again it represents four facets of myself that I think can give a very clear idea of what I have been doing of late.
Thunder, initially a bold venture for a trio, was an old dream and wish that Frances-Marie Uitti, Joel Ryan and I all shared to explore pure electroacoustic improvisation. Whenever all three of us would run into each other here and there we would talk about our wish to play together and in Warsaw such an opportunity arose and we made our debut as a trio.
I should like to think that underneath this motley selection of four musical projects, which represent four different facets of myself, there lies a unifying thread, a common link, a trace, a feeling, a philosophy, a way of thinking about music that connects seemingly inharmonious registers. I could talk about the listening, about respect, about passion, about intensity, about virtuosity, about our openness to the unknown, about our commitment to music, and about so many other things that I hear in the music recorded in these CDs. But I leave it to the listener to describe and label better than I could what they are listening to.
Bringing together in one single project such varied and disparate music can only be done at a time in one's life as significant as this: when I am turning 60. This retrospective, as a summary or inventory of my work, makes sense now, not before nor after. Who knows if from this moment on a new musical moment is not set in motion that will take me to places still unknown to me.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has participated in making this project possible. First and foremost, my infinite thanks to Maciej Karlowski, without whose vision, drive and enthusiasm, this music would not exist. I am equally thankful to Krzysztof Knittel, the artistic director of the Ad Libitum Festival, for all his support.
I would also like to thank all the musicians who played with me for their generosity and for having come along with me on this trip, and giving me the opportunity to learn from them at every stop on the way. I want to thank the audience who attended the festival concerts in Warsaw because without them the music would not have been the same nor would it have had a reason for to exist?. Poland, for reasons that never cease to amaze me, has always welcomed me and my music with extraordinary warmth and I will eternally be grateful to Poland and the Polish people for this. I also want to thank all the technical staff, both in Warsaw and in Spain, for their support and unconditional help.
released October 26, 2015
Agustí Fernández - piano
Frances Marie Uitti - cello
Joel Ryan - live electronics
All music by Agustí Fernández, Frances Marie Uitti and Joel Ryan
Recorded live, October 17, 2014 at Labaoratorium CSW, Warsaw
Recording engineer: Wojciech Przybylski
Mixed and mastered on May 6, 2015 at FCM Studios, Barcelona
Mixing and mastering engineer: Ferran Conangla
Total mastery of patience, time, and drama create a constantly engaging journey that never gets tiresome or same-y: in fact the harder you listen the better it gets! Somehow Sorey et al. find a way to combine the deep listening and spontaneous interaction of the best jazz with the sense of every tone and sound being worth a universe of listening, which could be equally from Cage and Feldman or the accompaniment to an ancient ritual.
The recording/engineering is absolutely perfect as well. Giles