"How can highly irregular things sound regular, and vice versa?" is one of Arnulf Herrmann's defining interests, a fascination investigated here by the Ensemble Modern.
The five sections of "Fiktive Tänze" seem to unspool chaotically, from the opening rude, blustering horn march, to the slivers of strings spinning off the conclusion. By contrast, the clarinet piece "Monströses Lied" proceeds by absurd accumulation of detail, like a clown balancing a swaying column of crockery forever threatening to tumble. And in the piece for two pianos, "Anklang", the prepared-piano tones jar in manner which makes it sound as if it's constantly detuning. Fun, but not much.
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