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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Márton Illés - Watercolours and Psychograms [Kairos Music - 2022]

Márton Illés is a Hungarian modern classical composer who creates darting, often angular and sometimes shrill work- that at times flirts with avant jazz sensibilities. Watercolours and Psychograms is a seven-piece/fifteen-track CD release, featuring work composed by Illés between 2013 and 2021, taking in work for clarinet, an accordion, piano, and string trio, and blends of piano, wind and string instruments.

The release appears on Vienna’s Kairos Music- presented in their house-style digipak and stuck on booklet presentation. The cover artwork features abstract landscape artwork, with dripping upwards greys and yellows, which are topped with a blood-red and black smeared sky- so most fitting for Illés angular, seared, at times violently moody sound worlds. The glossy black and white inlay booklet runs twenty-three pages featuring English and German texts, discussing the pieces here, Illés work in general, and the Ensemble Recherche who play all of the pieces here.

The CD opens with the "Three Watercolours For Clarinet" (2014)- which runs around the five-minute mark. It starts with a selection of mid to high-pitched warbling, drifting, and honk horn tones. As it moves along we find blends of playful mid-ranged gallops and waving high honks, more spaced and subdued mid-range drifts, and some nicely shrill rapidly darting tones.

Later on, we have 2017/2020’s "Three Watercolours For clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano"- this just over ten-minute work is an unnerving journey into pluck, shuttle, cascading key dart, and expressive honking.  The album plays out with "Psychogram “Durcáskodós” (sulking)"- this 2019/2021 piece for violoncello comes in at the thirteen-and-a-half-minute mark, and is a shifting & taut sonic canvas of rapid saws, scrapes, high-pitched slices, and brooding though pacy swoons and seesaws. 

Watercolours And Psychograms will be for those who enjoy their modern classical composition tautly, tense and darting with violent and angular intent. And I'll certainly be interested in hearing more of Mr Illés work.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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