This writer will forever respect an artist for lack of snobbery and propensity to capitalize on simple yet profound discoveries. After 13 years (!) since our first report about Nikolaus Gerszewski, an insightful man who splits his time between Germany and Hungary and mesmerizes listeners via the overlapping of reiterated movements, welcome back to his universe. As a self-taught composer who entered the field relatively late, Gerszewski’s music underwent an evolution that has brought some memorable creations, demonstrating how a strong spirit supported by logical distinctiveness can always affect the auditory system in powerful ways.
“…Any sound can be held endlessly, any change can be performed infinitely slowly, any timbre within the spectrum of a pure tone, and a plain white noise, can be obtained; ie.: I can literally write anything I want to hear.” These terms are used by Gerszewski to justify the fondness for differently sized string ensembles as the best means to express what, in his view, is just a rational process that can yield more or less “acceptable” results, depending on who hears the ensuing sonorities. It is no surprise that his Soundcloud page, appropriately titled Ordinary Music Archives, shows a #anti-music hashtag. When one considers that I spent many hours, over several days, trying to decipher the spectral subtleties, the peculiarly shaped clusters, the relentless pulses, and – above all – the marvelous glissando interweavings defining the finest episodes, not only in this album but also in Gerszewski’s past output (the bulk of which criminally unreleased), the whole thing comes across as rather ironic. Effective examples of such include, in particular, the works for 12-string ensemble and “Turn“. They need immediate attention from a label prepared to clean their covers of the obviousness patina.
However, ART now serves as a good introduction to Gerszewski’s poetics of the ordinary. The majority of the tracks are on the short duration side, but it’s the pair of longer ones closing the program that represent the ultimate summary of everything mentioned so far. Perfect transitions inside pre-verbalized and pursued processes; provided and followed instructions from beginning to end; unintentional colorations (or discolorations). I haven’t really listened to anything similarly rewarding, lately. Gerszewski’s vision encompasses both “all” and “nothing”, with the mind usually choosing to dwell in the latter. At this level of depth, the rest of the genuinely discerning population should finally pay notice.