Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ákos Rózmann - 12 Stationer VI (2012)

Ákos Rózmann is one of the most unjustly underestimated pioneers of electronic music. Originally from Hungary, he studied composition and organ at the Bartok Conservatory and Liszt Academy in Budapest before earning a scholarship to study electronic music in Stockholm.

During the day he worked as an organist at St. Eric's cathedral in the Swedish capital whilst at night he experimented with primitive electronic devices using recordings of that same organ as source material. Influenced by the pioneering works of Pierre Henry, Rózmann soon rejected traditional acoustic composition entirely – even going so far as to declare that instrumental music “had no future”.

Presumably influenced by his own Catholic weltanschauung and immersion in religious music, Rózmann sought to address big themes in his music, particularly that of the conflict between good and evil. “In Rózmann's imagined world,” Mats Lindström writes in his album notes, “No room was given to chance. Big powers, luminous or dark, would lie behind the most trivial every day events.”

Over time, Rózmann’s Catholicism ceded ground to Tibetan Buddhism. His most famous work, 12 stationer (12 stations), which took 23 years to complete, is a musical interpretation of the Tibetan Wheel of Life.

“During his lifetime he never sought, nor did he win any mentionable recognition,” Lindström continues. “As a true modernist, he didn’t compose with an audience or the critics in mind. His mission was to compose for the future. It was his conviction that the mystical energy for compositional work should derive straight from God.”

This album - the last four parts of 12 Stations - ’12 Stations VI I’, ’12 Stations VI II’, ’12 Stations VI III’ and ‘Dörr med tårar’, grouped together as 12 Stations VI – is released via Ideologic Organ, the Editions Mego sub-label curated by Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley.

The album contains four long works of concrete and electro-acoustic devotion that navigate serene harmony and furious abstraction with unbelievable passion and authority, bringing to mind such greats as Messiaen, Parmegiani, Penderecki, Macchi, Stockhausen and of course Rózmann's hero, Pierre Henry.

It features Rózmann himself on piano and voice, with additional vocals by Iona Maros, Miklós Maros and Viveca Servatius. It was composed between 1978 and 2001 at EMS elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm.

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