BERTRAND DENZLER & HORNS - HORNS 1.2

(confront collectors series ccs 38)

 

Composed by Bertrand Denzler

 

The quartet Horns is well-named, consisting of two saxophones—Denzler on tenor and Pierre-Antoine Badaroux on alto—plus Fidel Fourneyron on trombone and Louis Laurain on trumpet. Some seven years after Denzler was one quarter of the saxophone quartet that recorded the ground-breaking Propagations (Potlatch, 2007), Horns feels very different but may be just as radical. The quartet was specially created to play the "Horns" pieces written by Denzler. The decision to mix saxophones and brass was a wise one, as this quartet breaks new ground and the timbres of its instruments ensure it avoids comparisons with the Propagations quartet. This album's only track, the forty-minute title composition, is described by Denzler as a "pseudo-drone" piece, with "the overall sound of the ensemble being structured by the decisions the musicians have to take in order to keep this sound alive while moving in a small, pre-established musical perimeter, and the acoustic phenomena resulting from these decisions." In practice, those words translate into a sustained piece to which all four players contribute to keeping the sound alive, subtly altering their contributions as and when they see fit, in order to blend in with the other three. It cannot be called a drone (hence, Denzler's phrase "pseudo-drone") as it never settles down to a steady state but is in a constant state of flux created by every decision made by each player. Those decisions are not entirely free but are constrained by Denzler's composition, with the consequence that the four instruments fit together well, combining into a piece that makes fascinating and satisfying listening. (John Eyles)

 

“Horns 1.2” is based on the same principle as “Morph” (CCS 37). It’s a “pseudo-drone” piece, the overall sound of the ensemble or orchestra being structured by the decisions the musicians have to take in order to keep this sound alive while moving in a small, pre-established musical perimeter.

The Horns quartet has been specifically created to play the “Horns”-pieces. Since 2013, the ensemble performs different pieces of the “Horns”-series on a regular basis in France. “Horns 1.2” is Horns’ first release.