Album Release

Lucia Dlugoszewski - Abyss and Caress

The multifaceted oeuvre of Polish-American composer Lucia Dlugoszewski (1925-2000) is enjoying a renaissance. Klangforum Wien has now recorded the first comprehensive sound portrait of the versatile artist, which was released as a double album (on col legno) on October 20, 2023. The project was kindly supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. In February 2024, the recording was awarded the German Record Critics' Award.
Lucia Dlugoszewski

As a member of the New York School centered around John Cage, with whom she had a fluctuating relationship between friendship and open disagreement, Lucia Dlugoszewski created distinctive works through which she brought specific qualities of her identity into the experimental tendencies of Western modernistic music. She was the recipient of prestigious awards and in 1977 became the first woman to receive the Koussevitzky International Recording Award. Today, almost 25 years after her death, the composer, poet, inventor of musical instruments, choreographer and stage director is the focus of renewed interest. Dlugoszewski’s compositions are increasingly featured on the programmes of numerous festivals, ensembles and orchestras.

As an inventor of musical instruments and through her collaboration with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, she expanded the realm of musical possibilities. She developed a subtle percussion language based on sensual contact with the instrument as an antithesis to the expansive "patriarchal drumming". Through delicate preparation of a piano’s sound box she developed a "timbre piano" with a rich palette of sounds, as in the opus magnum Fire Fragile Flight (1973). In contrast to fetishizing abstract temporal structures, Dlugoszewski emphasized subjective intuition. Thus, her work also forces us to re-examine a canonized image of the New York School in favour of a more complex history in terms of ethnicity, culture, and gender identity.

Recording Session Synchron Stage Vienna
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Choreographed everyday objects

While we do not know of direct influences or connections to Polish contemporaries like the composer Krzysztof Penderecki, her roots as a child of a Polish immigrant family, raised in Detroit, seem to be of cultural significance. Her exploration of (Buddhist-inspired) sound rituals found a radical expression in the way she employs everyday objects for sound generation as a sound-kinetic signature in her music – which in turn only becomes intelligible against the background of her sensitivity towards choreography and stage performance.

Lucia Dlugoszewski
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First comprehensive sound portrait

With an output covering more than one hundred compositions, Lucia Dlugoszewski lived to see only one monographic CD with her chamber and solo works. The new double album from Klangforum Wien constitutes the first comprehensive sound portrait of the composer, covering her early and mature artistic periods, including both chamber and orchestral works, canonical masterpieces and phonographic premieres. The selected pieces cover a range from the 1950s to the 1990s. Compositions such as Abyss and Caress (1975), Each Time You Carry Me This Way (1993) and Avanti (1980) are here recorded for the very first time.

In February 2024, the recordings were awarded the German Record Critics' Award.

In this video, Gunde Jäch (violin), Gregory Chalier (flute) and Gerald Preinfalk (saxophone) offer insights into the music of Lucia Dlugoszewski and the sessions in the recording studio. (Video in English)

Subjective, imaginative, transdisciplinary, and radical in her ideas about playing technique - the composer Lucia Dlugoszewski is an extraordinary discovery, whose virtuosic challenges are met by the ensemble of Klangforum Wien with fervent enthusiasm.
Peter Paul Kainrath, Director of Klangforum Wien

Abyss and Caress - Track List

CD 1

01 Abyss and Caress for solo trumpet and orchestra (1975)
02 Fire Fragile Flight for chamber orchestra (1973)
03 Each Time You Carry Me This Way Radical Narrowness Concert, Sections 1-6 (1993)

CD 2

01 Openings of the (Eye) Ritual of the Descent (1952)
02 Angels of the Inmost Heaven for brass quintet (1971)
03 Disparate Stairway Radical Other for string quartet (1995)
04 Avanti for Ensemble (1980)

Recording Artists

Klangforum Wien
Peter Evans, trumpet
Johannes Kalitzke, conductor
Tim Anderson, conductor
Ilan Volkov, conductor

Release date: 20 October 2023
Label: col legno

→ Order CD

→ German Record Critics' Award

Photos of Lucia Dlugoszewski: (c) Daniel Kramer

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