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Fehér Virág / White Flower

Artist: Szilard Mezei

Date of Release: 29/01/2016

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 569

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Szilárd Mezei Flute & Strings Trio ~ Szilárd MEZEI – viola, kaval, Svetlana NOVAKOVI? – flute, Maja RADOVANLIJA – acoustic guitar

The Flute and Strings Trio was originally assembled in 2005 in Novi Sad, Serbia – the pure textures of viola, flute and acoustic guitar proving to be an enchanting combination. This recording was actually made in the early days of the trio, which was fortunate because since then Maja Radovanlija has moved to live in USA and Svetlana Novakovi? in Slovenia resulting in few opportunties for the trio to perform.
Composer Szilárd Mezei describes: “Music of the trio moves from completely free improvisation over dramaturgical compositional techniques to fully-written compositions. These compositions are mostly written with aleatoric technique, and despite the fact that it is a composition, due to the aleatory sonority it is very close to improvised music, but with clearer melodic, rhythmic and harmonic terms than in a completely improvised music. In addition to the collective playing, solos and duets play a big role in the program of the trio.”

Track details:

1. Vadludak I-II / Wild Geese I-II (Hommage á John Cassavetes) 32’28“
2. Árnyjáték / Shadow Show (Hommage á John Carter) 26’52“
3. Fehér virág / White Flower 10’36“


Composers
Szilárd Mezei (SOKOJ)

Recording details:

Rec. 12. August 2005., Studio Vilenjak, Novi Sad, Serbia by Saša Milankov, mixed by Saša Milankov. Mastered by Szilárd Mezei.

 

Reviews

 

01/04/2017 Jason Bivins

PROFILE REVIEW Name: Szilard Mezei Instrument: Violin, Viola, Contrabass Place of Birth: Senta, Serbia Overview: Born in 1974 and reared in a multi-ethnic milieu, Mezei has been something of a musical polymath since the days of his training. Specializing in viola and violin, Mezei studied composition at university and has consistently performed in a wide range of instrumental and musical settings. Well versed in twentieth century new music, as well as a range of improvised and non-idiomatic musics and Hungarian folk traditions, Mezei has developed a very interesting discography, including creative orchestra compositions, folk music performances, and a wide series of collaborations with European and North American improvisers (including Charles Gayle, Herb Robertson, Frank Gratkowski, Joelle Leandre, and others).
SZILARD MEZEI TRIO WHITE FLOWER SLAM 569 Wild Geese I-III / Shadow Show / White Flower. 70:03. Mezei (vla, kaval), Svetlana Novakovic (flt), Maja Radovanlija (g). August 12, 2005, Novi Sad, Serbia.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard from the once-ubiquitous Mezei, and his marvelous new release dates from his period of heaviest documentation. But other than that, it’s something of an outlier for him, in terms of instrumentation and in terms of his use of folk materials (always an element of his style, it’s more foregrounded here). After an opening drone, the trio plays craggy and intervallic music that sounds like Julius Hemphill sitting in with the String Trio of New Yor, crossed with Louis Sclaviss acoustic quartet covering Messiaen. I’m in. One key to the success of this music, aside from the superb instrumentalism, is the indissoluble melding of texture and line, which is one of my favorite (and most difficult to achieve) elements of truly top improvising. As strongly neoclassical as “Wild Geese” is in places – lyrical here, densely chromatic there, with some lovely a cappella sections for Mezei – it’s in the dynamic grain and color of the trio that the music is most wondrous. With music this detailed and complex, that’s as necessary as the players’ technique. Speaking of which, I absolutely loved the guitarist’s playing, combining dense chordal investigations with fleet finger-picking and some bright lyrical flourishes that contrast smartly with the timbres and harmonic choices the other two tend to make. Breathy flute opens “Shadow Show,” a lengthy tribute to John Carter that grows in rhythmic intensity, abetted by Mezei’s use of the booming kaval percussion instrument, which seems to goad Radovanlija into her most gnarly playing of the date, and Novakovic to her most terpsichorean. When Mezei switches back to viola, the music swings infectiously. Things are similarly bracing on the fantastic title track, with overtones skirling amidst guitar chords, and a somber, almost gagaku-like feel in the flute-heavy sections. Terrific music! Recommended Works: Cerkno; Sivatag; We Were Watching the Rain; Bot; Nad/Reed; Underflow. Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine, May 2017.
http://www.cadencejazzmagazine.com/membersonly/admin/assets/CadenceApril2017.pdf

 

14/02/2016 MASSIMO RICCI

The 70 minutes of Fehér Virág will flow like a breeze if you just set yourselves comfortable. It might sound as a mainstream recommendation, for all consequential musics should be absorbed in optimal conditions. But when Szilárd Mezei is a part of the equation, there’s that extra need of fine-tuning a listener’s receptors to envision the human dynamics at work. The ultimate outcome consists of sublime counterpoints whose textural fertility mostly derives from overtones and microtonal auras surrounding the so-called “regular” pitches. That harmonic wealth becomes conspicuous as soon as the initial “Vadludak I-II” begins, as the mind is projected in a lost world where musicians still have a command of the interior languages and spend more days practicing their craft than hustling to get a spot in the sun.

And so the enchantment goes on. An overall impression of thoughtful calmness is never disturbed by the slightly dissonant qualities of certain passages. If one needs to move to another side of the room while listening, tiptoeing is required to avoid the disruption of a rare acoustic coherence. Mezei conceived this opus as a series of transitions between improvised sections and predefined scores, each player’s insight adding touches of wisdom to a well-formed integrity. The leader’s viola is at once intangible and incisive, revealing decades of intimacy with numberless influences. Svetlana Novakovi? utilizes the flute by filling the air with messages and suggestions dictated by real-time lucidity. István Csík’s sober percussive atmospheres, in the lone episode where he’s featured, are placeable halfway through collected ritualism and classic swing. A special mention must be reserved to guitarist Maja Radovanlija: her contribution to the interplay shows discretion and maturity in spades. A potential case study for various oversung pickers possessing half of the depth that this woman seems to have.

Listen to this beautiful disc; acclimatizing with its arrangements and colors won’t take long. Different levels of aural art exist: Mezei and his companions are travellers of the higher spheres, the place where stylistic distinctions make no sense anymore, and what really counts can’t be rendered in words. But it definitely quivers.
MASSIMO RICCI FEBRUARY 14, 2016 https://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/szilard-mezei-flute-strings-trio-feher-virag-white-flower/

 

11/02/2016 Ken Cheetham

The kaval is a wooden flute, the kind that belongs to a pastoral tradition and is played all across Eastern Europe and Anatolia. The word itself is Turkish.

This writer reviewed Szilárd Mezei’s work (Karszt) with the International Improvisers’ Ensemble, back two years almost, in January 2014. His rapport with Anthony Braxton’s musical methods was remarked upon then and is noticed again here. He is yet another musician whose concern in studying the affiliation between composition and improvisation becomes more obvious the more one hears his works. He brings together elements from classical, folk and jazz music, balancing composition and improvisation and arriving at what he has named contemporary improvised music.

‘White Flower’ is very much in this genre and is a quite exhilarating musical work, the striking equilibrium only seemingly at odds with its multi-faceted nature.

Mezei’s ensemble play his compositions, pieces in which spontaneous improvisation plays a pivotal role, just as its members are as one in their pledge to improvisation as a methodology. There are, too, resilient inclinations to the folk music of Hungary, and to a plethora of contemporary classical and jazz sources such as Bartók, Braxton and Ligeti. Mezei himself plays with other foundations in improvised music and is committed to actively planning and arranging workshops and promotions in the genre.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham http://www.jazzviews.net/szilaacuterd-mezei-trio-ndash-feheacuter-viraacutegwhite-flower.html

 

01/02/2016 Vittorio Lo Conte

La musica del violista serbo ungherese Szilárd Mezei č di quelle che lascia il segno, sia che guidi gruppi orchestrali oppure gruppi da camera, come questo trio, insieme a Svetlana Novakovic al flauto e Maja Radovanlija alla chitarra acustica. Sul secondo brano, Ámyjáték / Shadow Show il gruppo diventa un quartetto insieme alla batteria di István Csík. I musicisti dimostrano di avere esperienza con la pratica improvvisativa, la straordinaria chitarrista ad esempio, nativa di Belgrado ma con degli studi in USA, č attiva in tutti gli stili e generi sul suo strumento, dal jazz alla musica sudamericana a quella balcanica o, come qui, all’improvvisazione. Il trio era nato nel 2005, poi la partenza della chitarrista verso gli USA e della flautista verso la Slovenia avevano interrotto le possibilitŕ di suonare insieme, fino a quando non ci si č ritrovati per andare in studio. L’ avanguardia dei tre si avvale delle pratiche improvvisative radicali insieme a composizioni aleatorie, un sistema che proviene dalla musica colta contemporanea. La forza delle esecuzioni viene comunque dalla loro straordinaria capacitŕ agi strumenti: nelle lunghe esecuzioni non manca mai un filo logico insieme al virtuosismo e ciň non lascia mai cadere l’attenzione dalla musica. Per Vadludak I-II ci sono 32 minuti di invenzioni, su Ámyjáték si aggiungono le percussioni e la batteria per altri 26 minuti di libertŕ sonora, il finale Fehér Virág dura sui dieci minuti e si ritorna alla formazione del trio. Nel complesso č una musica che va ascoltata piů che descritta, ricca di tutte quelle componenti che la rendono interessante al collega musicista ed all’ascoltatore. Non manca niente, dalla capacitŕ tecnico-esecutiva agli strumenti alla fantasia e alla capacitá di continue invenzioni da un momento all’altro, senza che ci si perda in momenti di vuoto. Le esecuzioni appiono sempre compatte e ricche di verve ed energia. Sulla finale Fehér Virág si intravede un malinconico tema che apre il brano, poi arrivano le improvvisazioni dei singoli musicisti a mantenere un’atmosfera elegiaca ed autunnale. La riunione dei tre ha dato come risultato un disco che sarŕ apprezzato da chi ascolta l’avanguardia. Ci sono tutti gli ingredienti per farsi apprezzare a livello internazionale, al di qua e al di lŕ dell’Atlantico..
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=25245#.VsRJwfKLTct

TRANSLATION
Music violist Serbian Hungarian Szilard Mezei is one that leaves its mark, both to guide orchestras or chamber groups, as this trio, along with Svetlana Novakovic Maja Radovanlija on flute and acoustic guitar. The second song, Ámyjáték / Shadow Show the group becomes a quartet with drums István Csík. The musicians prove to have experience with the improvised, such as the extraordinary guitarist, born in Belgrade but with the studies in the USA, is active in all styles and genres on his instrument, from jazz to South American music in the Balkans, or, as here, improvisation. The trio was formed in 2005, after the departure of guitarist to the US and the flutist to Slovenia had discontinued the opportunity to play together, as long as there has not gathered to go to the studio. L 'vanguard of the three uses of improvisational practices radicals with random compositions, a system which comes from the classical contemporary music. The strength of the executions is still by their extraordinary ability tools agi: in long executions never missing a logical thread with the virtuosity and it never lets fall the attention from music. For Vadludak I-II, there are 32 minutes of inventions, of Ámyjáték adding percussion and drums for another 26 minutes of sonic freedom, the final Fehér Virág lasts about ten minutes and you are returned to the training of the trio. Overall it is a music that must be listened to rather than described, full of all the components that make it attractive to fellow musician and listener. Nothing is missing, from the technical and executive capabilities to the tools to the imagination and capacity of continuous inventions at any moment, no one would lose in the empty moments. The more compact appiono executions and full of verve and energy. On the final Fehér Virág we see a melancholic theme that opens the piece, then come the improvisations of the individual musicians to keep elegiac atmosphere and autumn. The meeting of the three has resulted in an album that will be appreciated by those who listen to the vanguard. There are all the ingredients to be appreciated at the international level, on both sides of the Atlantic ..
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=25245#.VsRJwfKLTct

 

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