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Luzia von Wyl Ensemble: Throwing Coins

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Luzia von Wyl Ensemble: Throwing Coins
Photograph by Stefan Deuber

As the music of Luzia von Wyl traverses a vast cultural topography on Throwing Coins it reveals an artistic soul that is at once vibrant and given to spirit-dancing as well as an intellect that also plunges into moments of deep meditative sojourns as we get our wish to listen to her brilliant new musical voice. This does not mean that Miss von Wyl’s moments of effervescent music are without much depth of thought. On the contrary the pianist manipulates harmony and rhythm with great skill and erudition. Often this is heard in a single song, one such being “Akumal”, in which the chromatic modulation might go as far as the describe the proverbial mysteries of the Sibyls are all but sung intrepidly; all of which makes Miss von Wyl herself a kind of musical “clairvoyant” who is able to pierce the skin of her music’s elements thus raising it to a higher level of significance.

Miss von Wyl is a natural colourist and her fingers caress the keys as if they were the fine nervy hairs of a paint brush whipping around on a canvas painting melodies, provoking harmonies and rhythms by often punctuating her right hand with stabbing chords as if daubing her canvas with ebullience –sometimes almost furious gaiety. With alliterative notes that free the melody of “Solifati” so much so that its black dots leap off the page Miss von Wyl draws the members of her ensemble to follow her delightfully mad music on an irrepressible romp as it agitates and churns the air of the listening room. Reeds become sensuously entwined with sullen strings, freeing their mood into unbridled joy which is spills over into the duet between the two flutes on “Wasps”.

However, the most extraordinary aspect of Miss von Wyl’s music is her ability not only to paint vivid pictures, but to also tell stories. The music that best illustrates this is not only the two “Chromatika” pieces, but very possibly “Antumbra”, with the mesmerising ululations of Amin Mokdad’s flute as he deep-dives into a Phrygian mode that breathes life into the song with its gorgeous Middle Eastern-North African atmospherics. Miss von Wyl is also able to conjure the feeling of “mighty” music with her uncanny ability to orchestrate these small ensemble works and make them sound as if the music were being articulated by a big symphonic group with just four reeds, three strings and two percussion instruments. Add to that the fact that these musicians are able to reach the heart of her music and render it idiomatically, and couple that with Miss von Wyl’s intuitive pianism and you have the best reasons why this is an album to die for…

Track list – 1: Chromatika; 2: Q; 3: Akumal; 4: Solifati; 5: Wasps; 6: Antumbra; 7: Chromatika II; 8: Spark

Personnel – Luzia von Wyl: piano; Amin Mokdad: flute; Nicola Katz: clarinet; Lukas Roos: bass clarinet; Maurus Conte: bassoon; Vincent Millioud violin; Jonas Iten: violoncello; André Pousaz: contrabass; Raphael Christen: marimba; Lionel Friedli: drums; Andrea Loetscher: flute (4, 5)

Released – 2018
Label – hatHUT (hatOLOGY 753)
Runtime – 44:36

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