The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Ernst Reijseger (cello) Larissa Groeneveld (cello) Frank van de Laar (piano)
Composer: Ernst Reijseger

The title track of this album was chosen by director Werner Herzog for his film Rescue Dawn. This is perhaps the clue to cellist and composer Ernst Reijseger’s musical language, which is stylistically pluralistic, direct, yet often quite harmonically static and repetitive –aspects that frequently characterise music for the big screen.

Without doubt the playing is virtuosic and committed, either in the improvisatory style of Marta (Monsoon) or the more motoric and percussive May the Law of Gravity Show You the Way. The deliberate absence of booklet notes is a pity, as some clarification on intention and the background details of the artists wouldn’t have gone amiss. Defining the boundaries of this highly individual album is therefore difficult, but the combination of two cellos and piano offers some interesting and imaginative timbral effects, not least in the opening Gretchen am Spinnrade, where one cello has a chorale-like melody over which the second cello adds high string crossings and glissando – not dissimilar in its figuration to Arvo Pärt’s Fratres.

Certain tracks inevitably appeal more than others: the enigmatic and brief Blurb One, cast in a jazzy folk style, is attractive, with its bare intervals faintly recalling Bartók; the syncopated and catchy 8x3 4 T likewise works well. Some items, however, such as The Veils, are too monotonous for my taste, although doubtless would make good background music. In an age where the musical landscape is reinventing itself there is much food for thought in this CD, which boasts a clear and ambient recording.

Joanne Talbot