Bernhard Günter – Crossing the River (Night Music) (Trente Oiseaux, 2001)


Bernhard Günter
Crossing the River (Night Music)

CD Trente Oiseaux TOC 014 (Germany, 2001)

01. Crossing the River (Night Music)
02. Haiku for Mu

Crossing the River (Night Music) dedicated to Iannis Xenakis; realized and mastered at trente oiseaux, Sept. 2000 – Jan. 2001.
Haiku for Mu features Bernhard’s dog Mu sleeping, breathing, and dreaming; realized and mastered at trente oiseaux, 2000/2001; originally released as In Her Dream / Mu Is Running / Autumn Moon (Haiku for Mu) on the double CD Lowercase.
Thank you: Heike and Mu, Koji and Akiko, Steve and Sari; Christophe, Matt, Richard, Sigtrggur; Daniela, Daniele, Michael.
Recommended to be listened to in the dark.

(from the liner notes)

Crossing the River is calm, peaceful, and beautiful, guaranteed to slow you down after a busy urban day (but unlike chemical products designed to this effect, it leaves your mind clear and aware). The effect it had on me was that i bagged my elaborate liner notes about ‘crossing the river’ as a Buddhist metaphor for reaching enlightenment, and replaced them by this:
‘Ceci est la couleur de mes rèves’
[title of a painting by] Juan Miró
(‘This is the color of my dreams’)
For TOC014, Crossing the River will be paired with Haiku for Mu, composed for the ‘lower case sound’ compilation last year, now re-mastered, and embedded in silence. Being of a nightly mood, too, it combines perfectly with Crossing the River.

(Bernhard Günter, january 2001)

Then, Silence, Bernhard Günter’s previous release on Trente Oiseaux, paid tribute to Morton Feldman and Luigi Nono. With its dedication to Iannis Xenakis, Crossing the River (Night Music) completes the triumvirate of influences reigning (although not as despots) over Günter’s music. The artist has publicly explained that the title piece had been completed before news of the Greek composer’s death reached him. « Crossing the River (Night Music) » is a half-hour composition proceeding in tableaux much like Then, Silence. A melodic figure is sketched by a screechy cello and a horn (French horn?) heard from a distance. Its echoing notes sound like a foghorn and provide the strongest element in establishing a marine theme. Soft electro-acoustic textures, kept barely above an audible level, evoke the river itself, its song growing so familiar one tends to forget it. Is this a dream in which the sequences are separated by a few seconds of sleepy silence or episodes taken from a long journey on the symbolic river? The title of a Miró painting reproduced in the booklet brings an element of answer: « Ceci est la couleur de mes rêves » — « This is the color of my dreams. » Günter’s recommendation to listen to the piece « in the dark » is superfluous. All his works deserve to be experienced in the calmest, most stimuli-deprived conditions. As a complement, the shorter « Haiku for Mu » is less interesting. More of a field recording (it actually sounds untreated), it features a dog sleeping. Listeners hear the animal’s breath and sounds oozing in from the street. Buy this CD for the title piece, one of Günter’s best and another step away from his earlier sound art and toward contemporary composition. (François Couture, All Music Guide)

FR Petite musique de nuit… Le second titre est plus dispensable (sauf si ça vous émoustille d’entendre un chien dormir), mais Crossing the River est une de mes pièces préférées de Bernhard Günter, à sa façon parmi les plus chaleureuses et/ou rêveuses. Bonne nuit.
(et pour info, tout le catalogue de chez Trente Oiseaux est disponible en FLAC ici)
ENG Possibly my favourite Bernhard Günter piece. By the way, the complete Trente Oiseaux catalogue is available in FLAC here.

Visit Bernhard Günter or Trente Oiseaux

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