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Jürg Frey – 24 Wörter

Edition Wandelweiser co-founder Jürg Frey presents the starkly beautiful minimalism of ’24 Wörter’, a song cycle based around the album’s evocative song titles, and performed by the trio of Regula Konrad (soprano), Andrew Nathaniel McIntosh (violin), and Dante Boon (piano). They’re mostly very succinct works with no detectable fat to trim, forming a gorgeous, dreamlike archipelago of experimental contemporary classical compositions...

“Jürg Frey in conversation with Thomas Adank:

JF: The 24 words are the titles of the individual pieces, and they are at the same time the entire text. They are also a list that shows how the piece gets from a beginning to an end. It is, in a sense, a cycle not simply a collection of pieces - a cycle which begins, makes a journey and ends at a different place.

TA: If I had to categorize this list of words, it seems to me they are addressed to quite different areas. Herzeleid (Heartbreak) for example, sounds old-fashioned, Einsamkeitsmangel (Lack of Loneliness) almost sounds like a neologism, as do Halbschlafphantasie, (Half-Sleep Fantasy) Sehnsuchtslandschaft (Landscape of Longing), Vergessenheitsvogel (Bird of Oblivion). Others, such as Tod (Death), Schlaf (Sleep), Glück (Happiness), Wind (Wind), are very often used in everyday life. Did you, as you compiled this list, consider these categories? Or did you tell yourself a story that made these words necessary?

JF: I was thinking in categories. At first I really wanted to make an even more rigid sequence. As it now stands, with the long words at the end and the short words in the middle, you can still feel a little of this structure; also at the beginning, which has many words with "e" and "ei". However, now it is not so strict. The words developed lives of their own, and this displaced some of the original structure. Some are everyday words, others are made by combining words, and some words found individual paths into the piece, including some very personal things. L'oiseau d'oubli ("Vergessenheitsvogel",Bird of Oblivion) comes from Edmond Jabès and is a tribute to this author I adore. But I also think that here Jabès has given me the perfect word.


Dante Boon / piano
Regula Konrad / vocals
Andrew Nathaniel Mcintosh / violin


Recorded 16.17 September 2013, Aarau, Schweiz.

Available as a 16bit FLAC or 320k MP3 


1. Fremdheit - 2:32
2. Herzeleid - 1:49
3. Zwei Welten - 1:18
4. Seelenweit - 0:26
5. Piano, Violin - 3:21
6. Heiterkeit - 2:52
7. Seltsamkeit - 0:33
8. Trauer - 1:54
9. Tänzer - 0:55
10. Träumer - 2:37
11. Stein - 1:00
12. Einsamkeitsmangel - 1:17
13. Zittergras - 2:37
14. Piano Solo - 2:23
15. Tod - 1:37
16. Schlaf - 1:35
17. Tod - 2:13
18. Verlorenheit - 1:22
19. Zartheit - 2:12
20. Glück - 1:15
21. Wind - 0:56
22. Glück - 0:37
23. Ortlosigkeit - 2:26
24. Innigkeit - 1:45
25. Sehnsuchtslandschaft - 1:15
26. Halbschlafphantasie - 1:37
27. Vergessenheitsvogel - 4:21


Jürg Frey

Swiss born Jürg Frey’s music is characterised by a gentle but unorthodox harmonic beauty, and has been widely celebrated in recent years at numerous festivals and performances. His saxophone quartet ‘Mémoire, Horizon’ was composed for the Konus Quartet, and released on CD to great acclaim on the Musiques Suisses label. It was described by Brian Olewnick as “a wonderful, absorbing and thought-provoking work, possibly my favourite saxophone quartet ever….so, so great.”

Frey’s delicate piano music has also been highly praised. Reviewing ‘Circles and Landscapes’, Philip Thomas’s CD of his solo piano works, Michael Rosenstein wrote: “Thomas places each phrase and chord-set evenly across the duration of each piece and the music advances with an unwavering beauty bereft of any standard notion of melody or harmonic progression.”

And John Eyles commented: “Thomas delivers a flawless performance, leaving the listener to savour the spare beauty of the composition…Frey’s loving care and attention to detail shine through in his work. Simply exquisite.”

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