If the debate over “composition” over “improvisation” among contemporary musical cognoscenti – particularly those who deem themselves to be critics – is often an empty pursuit, both considerations of sonic art come brilliantly alive in the music of Judith Wegmann. It is not the kind of collision that many make it to be, but rather a seamless passage that Miss Wegmann finds herself navigating, partly by design and partly because she is drawn into its mysterious nooks and crannies by her whole self – that is body, mind and spirit. Clearly, for Miss Wegmann, therefore, music is a craft as much a result of the conscious mind creating sequences of black dots [perhaps] on the staved paper of her mind as it is a mystical event driven by rivers of knowledge inventing sonic paths as they rush onwards and forwards.
Miss Wegmann had plenty of time to take stock of her life and artistic pursuit when she was felled by a health even that necessitated a prolonged stay in the hospital. Le Soufflé du Temps resulted and since 2017 as is her wont, she has been crafting and developing her memory of everything that has occurred in her life up until that point in the form of a musical response to her life. And so ever since then, in performance after performance, Miss Wegmann began to craft and chisel the music as if in the nuclear heat of a poet’s fire. With slender fingers she began to caress the keyboard of the piano, and reach inside it to pluck and otherwise manipulate in every which way the taut strings stretched across its plate from capo bar to hitch pin.
All this as she breathed life into an instrument that became – and continues to be – an extension of her body and mind. The adventure of continuous refinement of sound and the silent spaces between it has preoccupied Miss Wegmann to the extent that it continues to this day. And so, two years after the music of Le Soufflé du Temps , was debuted with X (Rétro-) Perspectives Miss Wegmann unveils her further contemplations on that music and the events of its performance. The 2020 release also consists four meditations grouped together under the title Le Soufflé du Temps – Réflexion. However, this time, Miss Wegmann also includes commissioned by Daniel Andres [“Souvenirs d’un instant” a four-movement work of seemingly epic proportions], Cyrill Lim’s mystical [“Weben”], Edu Haubensak’s gorgeously textured [“Manga”] and Hans Koch’s playful [“L’ombre du jour”].
In her role as sole performer of these works it is a thrill to experience Miss Wegmann’s sensuous pianism, which is a source of surprising bright acoustic colours, resonant tintinnabulations replete with human intonation that appears to reflect the elemental intake and the outpouring of breath itself. Incorporated in it all is the sound of black dots flying off the page and pirouetting in the air around the listening space, is also silence, slurred into the greater schema of the music. The series entitled “Réflexion” is a further exploration of Miss Wegmann’s masterwork – her “Le Soufflé du Temps II”. Her mastery of the instrument and its possibilities continues seamlessly as the shimmering music is born of predictability and the unpredictability of the sound of music is explored with rich and varied sonorities awash with the drama of mystery.
As an artist, Miss Wegmann’s approach to performance is deeply exploratory and therefore continuously inventive as it follows the nature and expression of sound in all its complexity and glory. We experience this in all of this music, including the commissioned pieces. Throughout this questing performance, her pianism reflects [her] utter genius for creating a continuous stream of composition and improvisation that seems to exist both in realtime, as well as in the continuum of music. When the playing of the piano is this good, it’s hard to imagine this music on any other instrument because Miss Wegmann brings a quality to this music which is incisive and inventive, and above all her playing emphasizes – and rightly so – the brilliance of the music rather than the brilliance of her playing, which in turn, was way beyond reproach in any case.
Réflexion I – IV [Judith Wegmann]; Souvenirs d’un instant I – V [Daniel Andres]; Weben [Cyrill Lim]; Manga [Edu Haubensak]; L’ombre du jour [Hans Koch]
Judith Wegmann: pf
Released – 2020
hatHUT Records [ezz-thetics 1013]
Runtime – 55:47