New Focus Recordings
Catalog No. FCR216

A mesmerizing response to the music of Schütz, fractured glimpses half-remembered in a haze: ‘in allem frieden” shines the light of modern scrunity on the Baroque in a new release from Reiko Fueting on New Focus Recordings.

– Dan Harding

Reiko Fueting/Distant Song: An egghead deluxe set of contemporary classical featuring commissioned works by Futing and played by various ensembles. Often taking minimalism to extremes, this set is not for the contemporary classical tourist or snarkers who like to say "my kid could do that". This is a journey into art with a capital A as he explores the effect of memory in music. (New Focus 216)

– Midwest Record

A faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, Reiko Füting’s distant song features performers who are MSM alumni as well as European ensembles. An amalgam of various styles and materials notwithstanding, Füting displays a strong hand and clear-eyed perspective throughout. After an introduction of thunderous drum thwacks, AuditiVokal Dresden and Art D’Echo perform “als ein licht”/extensio and “in allem frieden” – wie der Tag – wie das Licht with marvelous close-tuned harmonies and suspense-filled pacing. Gradually the percussion is reintroduced at varying intervals to provide a foil for the singers. loadbang and the Byrne:Kozar Duo, the aforementioned MSM contingent, perform Mo(nu)ment and Eternal Return (Passacaglia), two pieces featuring microtones and extended techniques alongside Füting’s penchant for off-kilter repetition. The Dutch ensemble Oerknal performs Weg, Lied der Schwäne, in which both spectralism and quotation (of a madrigal by Arcadelt) are explored: yet two more facets of the composer’s palette. Versinkend, versingend, verklingend adds the vocal group Damask to Oerknal for a piece that combines still more quotations, ranging from Debussy’s piano music to a Fifteenth century German folksong.

– Sequenza21

Reiko Füting Juxtaposes Musical Antecedents in distantSong

What’s particularly impressive about distantSong, six compositions by Reiko Füting, is that so many references converge in music that still has a strong sense of itself.

Füting, who was born in 1970 and is on faculty at Manhattan School of Music, here explores many themes: timbre, quotation, memory. The title track — sinking, singing, sounding: distant song, for vocal quartet and ensemble — has a slow and multilayered ceremonialism that reminds me of Anna Thorvaldsdottir. In another work, Füting’s combination of Baroque period instruments with 21st-century techniques cleverly mirrors the opposing choirs in the Heinrich Schütz piece on which it’s based.

This music also features text by Hannah Arendt and others, in whisperings that pan in and out of earshot. Other tracks reference Debussy and the Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt. There’s a lot of “why” behind each piece, and the listening experience is rarely light. For me, the most immediate work is mo(nu)ment for C, for the ensemble loadbang (baritone, trumpet, trombone, and bass clarinet). Terse oscillating motifs create a vibrant ostinato for fragments, in English, German, and French, that reference the rallying cry for freedom of the press after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack. But there’s no Charlie here — only endless, playfully self-conscious iterations of “I am.”

At the ends of several pieces, source material — or something like it — finally reveals itself. Are these Baroque-sounding polyphonies a culmination, a return? Füting’s work doesn’t suggest a single reading. Take the crooning, capricious eternal return (Passacaglia). The unexpected duo of soprano (Corrine Byrne) and trumpet (Andrew Kozar) play in taunting heterophony, one voice just slightly behind the other. The text, from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, can read as demoralizing: All human actions are destined only to repeat, ad infinitum. But the music is cheerful in its resignation.

– Rebecca Wishnia, San Francisco Classical Voice

Combining elements of early music with contemporary techniques in a postmodern approach to appropriation and assimilation, Reiko Füting has created works that defy easy categorization, yet intrigue with their inventiveness and spontaneity. His 2018 release on New Focus Recordings, Distant Song, demonstrates an abiding interest in the music of the past, particularly the music of Heinrich Schütz, yet shows an equal concern with the diversity and challenges of music in the present. Employing vocal ensembles, a percussion quartet, a viol da gamba quintet, and a duo of soprano and trumpet, Füting conveys unsettling, fragmented soundscapes that comment on societal and political issues through verbal references, startling stylistic juxtapositions, and extended techniques, and the subjects of the program range from appeals for peace to protests against political violence. The roster of artists includes the American Byrne-Kozar Duo (soprano Corrine Byrne and trumpeter Andy Kozar), the German vocal ensemble AuditivVokal Dresden with the gamba consort Art d'Echo, the American chamber group Loadbang, and the Dutch percussionists Oerknal with the vocal ensemble Damask, who are all fluent in Füting's hybrid language and skilled to handle his demanding writing. While a description of this album may suggest a disjointed welter of sounds, there are many spare textures and silences in Füting's music that give it room to breathe and make the music somewhat more accessible, despite its occasionally confrontational content. Recommended for adventurous listeners.

– Blair Sanderson, AllMusic

Füting’s Present Reflections on “Distant Songs”

At the end of last year, New Focus Recordings released its second album of works by German composer Reiko Füting. The title of the album is distant song, which refers to the composer’s technique of drawing upon sources from the past and “transplanting” them in the “soil” of his own grammatical and rhetorical techniques. In our “brave new world” of distribution, is currently making the album available only for digital download; but those who prefer the physical medium can purchase the CD through Naxos Direct.

Füting tends to draw upon pre-Baroque composers for much of his source material. The first two compositions on distant song, “‘als ein licht’/extensio” (as a light) and “‘in allem frieden’” (in all peace), appropriate from the choral music of Heinrich Schütz; and the source of “Weg, Lied der Schwäne” (journey, song of the swans) is a madrigal by Jacques Arcadelt. On the other hand, the final selection, “versinkend, versingend, verklingend: fernes Lied” (sinking, singing, sounding: distant song), from which the album takes its title, draws upon both a fifteenth-century German folk song and Claude Debussy’s piano prelude, “La cathédrale engloutie.”

Performing resources are similarly diverse. The vocal selections involve both solo singing and part songs. Instrumental resources are kept on a chamber scale but with a tendency to include diverse passages for percussion. On the other hand the two pieces that appropriate Schütz draw upon the resources of the Art d’Echo consort of four viol players joined by Klaus Eichhorn on positive organ. Both of those pieces involves settings of texts by the poet Kathleen Furthmann.

The accompanying booklet provides Furthmann’s poems. One quickly discovers that the very layout of her words is a significant element of her capacity for poetic expression. This is particularly the case in “‘in allem frieden,” where the layout encourages an indeterminate approach to reading that can be either horizontal or vertical. In a similar manner Füting’s instrumental music tends to be organized as a constellation of moments, allowing for an interplay of simultaneities and sequences embedded within the flow of “real time.”

From a rhetorical point of view, one might be inclined to approach the music of Arvo Pärt as an “orienting point of reference.” However, Füting’s overall strategy tends to reflect some of the approaches to indeterminacy that one can find in the music of John Cage. In other words, no matter how many sources may provide context for Füting’s music, each of his compositions definitely speaks to the listener in is own voice, as unique in its expressiveness as it is in its syntactic foundations.

– Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio

Composer Reiko Füting created these works as an exploration of memory, shot through the lens of musical quotation. Some works are built from fragments of early music pieces, or, in the case of “versinkend, versingend, verklingend: fernes Lied,” a Debussy piano prelude. Despite such diverse materials, the music never feels like pastiche. The album opens with “‘als ein licht’/extensio,” where the words of contemporary poet Kathleen Furthmann are gorgeously shaped by the haunting early music singing of AuditivVokal Dresden. It’s set to a melody based on a motet by 17th century composer Heinrich Schütz, and situated within passages of austere percussion, as well as alternately elliptical and swelling figures from Art d’Echo, a viola da gamba quartet. “Eternal return (Passacaglia)” embraces far more contemporary language. The lines sung by soprano Corrine Byrne toggle between fluid and jagged, lyric and wordless, as she runs through sonic permutations of Nietzsche quotes. Trumpeter Andrew Kozar accompanies her with unpitched snorts, upper register cries, and vocalic extended techniques. “I am,” the quotation in “mo(nu)ment for C,” sung by loadbang baritone Jeffrey Gavett in English, French, and German, responds to the 2015 attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, while the lovely polyphony of Kozar’s trumpet, William Lang’s trombone, and Carlos Cordeiro’s bass clarinet sounds both ancient and modern.

– Peter Margasak, Bandcamp

With the vocal and instrumental compositions featured on this recording, Reiko Füting seeks to “explore the psychological nature of memory, as it is projected onto the compositional device of musical quotation. By realizing this device in the entire musical spectrum of assimilation, integration, disintegration, and segregation, while moving freely between clear borders and gradual transitions, quotation and memory may function as a means to reflect upon contemporary artists, cultural, social, and political phenomena.” That’s a pretty full conceptual agenda, and as is always the case with such music, that agenda begs a fundamental question: is the music itself (as opposed to its philosophical/conceptual foundation) worth your attention? The answer in this case is yes. Several of these works constitute contemporary responses to pieces by baroque composer Heinrich Schütz, while another is based on the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and another is a piece for vocal quartet and instrumental ensemble that takes a Debussy piano prelude as its source material. All of this music is challenging and academic; most of it is also both interesting and compelling.

– Rick Anderson, CD HotList/New Releases for Libraries

Music for percussion, for small vocal ensemble, for the two together, for chamber groups with voice, ever shifting, Distant Song (New Focus Recordings 216) gives us Reiko Futing at length and in focus. The composer in the liner states that this series of works express his "continuing compositional interest in time and space." How that works out is complicated. Aural memory is piqued or activated by musical quotations in various ways, bringing in, breaking apart, isolating. We are called upon to experience borders and slow change. It is the sort of thing where we do not say to ourselves, "hey, that's the first bar of Beethoven's Fifth!" It is a great deal more subtle than that. In fact I listened a number of times without reading the liners and failed to notice the constructive process, except that Early Music permeates things at times as an underlying force. So it in a way is an "inside baseball" kind of thing. You enjoy the game if you know something others might not, but you enjoy the game too if you do not catch every nuance.

So the opening work "'als ein licht'/extensio" relies as text on a poem by Kathleen Furthmann and a Heinrich Schutz motet as the "basis" for the work. The vocal ensemble has the lion's share of recognizable work to do in making us feel the "early" basis of the music. The viola da gamba quintet, percussion quartet and positive organ stretch our sensibilities. Notably at times the percussion quartet sounds with dramatic outbursts not unlike a taiko drumming ensemble minus the periodicity. The album is dedicated to musicologist Wolfram Steude (1931-2006), who suggested to Futing when he was his student years ago that he write a work in response to Schutz. What matters to our ears is that the Modernist outlook prevails at the same time as the Schutzian zeitgeist is, once you know, very much present.

The program moves through another five works, "in allem frieden" with another poem by Furthmann and the same vocal and instrumental forces, again with a Schutz work as the underpinning for the musical proceedings. "Wie der Tag - wie das Licht" acts as an epilogue with parts for soprano and bass gamba.

The works that follow on the heels of the compositions described above each feature a different configuration--soprano and trumpet; baritone, trumpet. trombone and bass clarinet; chamber ensemble; and chamber ensemble and vocal quartet, respectively.

All have specific aims or structural parameters, quotational/appropriative dimensions that set them into a special place. If you grab this music you can follow along in the liners of course. It is not necessary to map it all out here. There are cyclic-repetitive moments in the works that spell us from the linear Modernisms and linear earlier music quotations we experience throughout. The past mediates the present at times, the present mediates the past. And that perhaps is the point of memory, time and space as motoring factors in the musical universe(s) we occupy daily? Futing wakes us up in good ways to the experiential possibilities while providing us with a musical art program we can appreciate and love.

Suffice to say that the music is distinctive, individual, inventive and very imaginative. That in the end is the best reason to hear the album. That Reiko Futing creates his works in original ways is a fact. To understand his music it is very much a key to hear how the results are constructed, of course. That the results are striking aurally is confirmation that he is on the right path. Very recommended.

– Grego Applegate Edwards/Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Composer Reiko Füting (Germany b. 1970), a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music, offers an intriguing study of a juxtaposition of ancient and modern practice. The first two pieces on Distant Song, performed by AuditiVokal Dresden and Art D’Echo are als ein licht/extensio and in allem frieden/wie der Tag, wie das Licht, based on works by Heinrich Schütz. The motet Verleih Uns Frieden Gnädiglich is framed by dynamic percussion, spoken word and lush, dissonant vocalizations meant to illustrate, in the composer’s own words, a “continuing compositional interest in time and space.” Meant as an epilogue to the first two pieces, eternal return (Passacaglia) features the Byrne:Kozar:Duo, in an alarmingly engaging duet for soprano and trumpet using text from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Next is mo(nu)ment for C, on the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo in which the ensemble loadbang reiterates “Je suis,” “Ich bin” and “I Am.” Dutch ensemble Oerknal performs Weg, Lied der Schwäne, a “swan song” on the subject of euthanasia based on Arcadelt’s renaissance madrigal, Il bianco e dolce cigno. The same ensemble backs vocal quartet Damask in versinkend, versingend, verklingend which recalls Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutieLa cathédrale engloutie and quotes the 15th-century German folk song Gesegn dich Laub.

In listening to Füting’s compositions, it becomes clear that while focusing on contemporary issues, he brilliantly incorporates musical fragments of memory which bridge present and past.

– Dianne Wells/The Whole Note


New Focus Recordings
Catalog No. FCR152

At first, listening to the remarkably original music of German composer Reiko Füting is somewhat akin to eavesdropping on a conversation in a foreign language; a general sense of the thrust of the discussion emerges via changes in pitch and gesture, and an occasional cognate or familiar phrase sneaks out to fill in gaps. But ultimately one must learn the language, even if just in an elemental way, to comprehend the full story. My use of this literary metaphor for Füting’s music follows from the structure and pacing of this recording, which consists of thirteen numbers of varied length (47 seconds to fifteen plus minutes) for solo instruments and voice, duos, and finally, voice and string quartet. It comes across as a kind of song cycle, and yet, these are all individually conceived works, written across a fourteen-year span (the oldest piece is from 2000). Further, Füting employs a variety of harmonic styles and instrumental techniques. So what makes this such a cohesive package? First of all, there is a distinct voice to be heard that is consistently curious and experimental, although not in the brazen manner of a Ligeti or a Stockhausen. This is a kind of gentle experimentation, with tweaks to cello technique, or vocal tics, added not as a novelty, but as a means to an expressive end. Repeated listening enhances the meaning of the music, much as continued exposure to a foreign language leads to comprehension of the words.

– Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

Born in 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen, Reiko Füting studied composition and piano at the Dresden Conservatory before moving to America (Rice University and the Manhattan School of Music) before moving again, this time to Korea (Seoul National University).

I had only previously come across Füting once before via a disc of folksong arrangements in which he was pianist and, for six of the folksongs, arranger (Twisted Folk, available from CD Baby, where there are samples available: The present disc provides a fuller picture of a questing mind and spirit. The 2014 piece for cello and piano, Kaddish: The Art of Losing (Kaddisch: Die Kunst des Verlierens) is based in formal terms on Imre Kertesz’s novel Kaddish for a Child Unborn. It is also influenced by the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop and includes, as its final section, an in memoriam. The piece is fragile throughout, with bare textures and fragmentary statements from both instrumentalists punctuated by tension-laden silences. The performance is staggeringly good, hypnotic and inward-looking. The occasional use of vocal noises is subtly done, a natural part of the soundscape rather than effect for effect’s sake.

Five pieces for solo voice intersperse instrumental pieces for the main body of this disc. Korean mezzo Nani Füting is the expressive singer in these aphoristic statements from “…gesammeltes Schweigen” (Collected Silence). The first refers to “distant violin playing” (the vocal lines seem to point to Kurtág), and so it is entirely apposite that the very next piece is indeed for solo violin, tanz.tanz. The lines of “Das alte Weingut …” seem more allied to Webern. Vocal effects are used to great effect. When it comes to the final micro-song, “Hoch im Gebirge …”, one feels a sense of loss that one has heard the last “insertion”, surely an indicator of success in the programming here.

Violinist Miranda Cuckson clearly has an affinity for contemporary music, having recorded pieces by Nono, Xenakis, Carter and Shapey, amongst others. No doubting her sterling, in fact rock solid, technique in tanz.tanz, a work based on an analysis of Bach’s Chaconne (from the D-Minor Partita) by Helga Thoene, who is actually the work’s dedicatee. Again, the work’s title comes from a novel, this time Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Marakumi. Cuckson finds drama as well as that same fragile delicacy previously encountered in Kaddish.

The 2006 piece leaving without/palimpsest for piano and clarinet is based on the 2002 solo piano piece leaving. Based on a German folk tune, it is aphoristic in nature; the instrumentarium of “piano with clarinet”, and not the other way around, is significant as it is indeed the piano that bears the brunt of the argument. The clarinet does not enter until after four minutes in. The excellent cellist John Popham, whose tone is like velvet and whose technique is remarkable, takes on names, erased of 2012. This work quotes Bach, Berg and Ligeti, while also including self-quotations. Taking its basis as the Preludes from the Bach Solo Cello Suites (and the link is easily audible), Füting effectively takes Bach for a walk into the half-lit world of contemporary solo cello.

The present disc brackets together two pieces: ist – Mensch – geworden and land – haus – berg. Both use quotation extensively. The first is for flute and piano and quotes Josquin, Bach, Schumann, and Debussy plus making reference to flute and piano works by Boulez, Feldman, Furrer, Jo Kondo, Murail and Füting’s teacher, Nils Vigeland. This is a most mysterious piece: perhaps the extensive quotations themselves point to hidden, underlying, secrets. The solo piano land – haus – berg (2009) is where one encounters the ghosts of Beethoven, Schumann and Wolf’s settings of Goethe’s Kennst du das Land?. Such a deconstructed surface allows for only slight shadows though, the type one might catch out of the corner of an eye (or, in this case, an ear); one becomes more aware of the loneliness encapsulated here.

Originally taking a 1649 song by Heinrich Albert and Simon Dach as a starting point, light, asleep in its first version of 2002, this 2010 revision again puts the quotation way in the background (“I found that he source material was reflected only in the title and general atmosphere of my composition”, says Füting in the booklet). There is something of a black processional about this piece for violin and piano. Olivia de Prato is the fine, sweet-toned violinist who, alas, is the only performer on the disc not to be given a biography in the booklet, perhaps because she is lead violinist of the Mivos Quartet. As soloist of this caliber, though, she deserves one.

Scored for alto flute, cello and piano, the short 2003 piece (revised 2011) finden – suchen is a concisely-written occasional birthday piece for a former teacher, Jörg Herchet. Finally, “… und ich bin Dein Spiegel” (2002, revised 2012) for mezzo and string quartet. The literary inspiration this time is Mechthild von Magdeburg (died 1282), while musical sources act as what the composer calls “time witnesses”: the Minnelied Meie, din liehter schin by Neidhart von Reuental and the medieval sequence Laudes cruces attollamus. The melding of the new and the very old is highly effective, with Füting’s aphoristic style acting as a sort of distorting mirror to the source material. The piece begins with unaccompanied voice. Nani Füting has the perfect sound for the purity of the opening. The Mivos String Quartet plays superbly, and the climactic cries of both voice and violin between six and seven minutes in carry appreciable emotional weight.

Taking its title from a variant of the title of the piece names, erased (Prélude) (so it becomes namesErased), this disc is about as stimulating as they get. We need to hear more of Reiko Füting’s individual compositional voice. Of that, there is no doubt.

– Colin Clarke, Fanfare

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Born in 1970 in the German Democratic Republic, Reiko Füting studied composition and piano at the Dresden Conservatory, Rice University, Manhattan School of Music, and Seoul National University. Since 2000, he has served on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches theory and composition, and continues to perform around the world as pianist as well. As far as I can tell, the present disc is the first CD devoted entirely to his work. The formatting of the CD is a bit unusual in that it intersperses individual songs from Füting’s cycle, “…gesammeltes Schweigen” between the instrumental pieces.

The disc opens with Kaddish: The Art of Losing, a work for cello and piano. The cello has a rather extended opening monolog, the notes of which are largely derived from open strings and their natural harmonics. Eventually the piano joins in, at first subtly, and then more prominently so. The cello part continues senza vibrato throughout, giving the entire piece an evocatively mysterious quality. Although the work cannot be considered in any sense folk music, some of the gestures seem to me to be drawn from that world, and perhaps the rather static tonal centers (primarily on D) contribute to that feeling. Füting doesn’t eschew advanced techniques in this work; these include jeté (a technique of throwing the bow onto the string such that it quickly bounces a number of times) and sul ponticello.

After a movement from the song cycle (a one-minute unaccompanied plaintive setting with a wandering melodic line), we hear tanz.tanz for solo violin. This is a very busy work, with many interjections of pizzicato and other special effects, but the tonal center is again on D, in particular the note of the open D-string on the violin. Somewhere near the end, I heard a brief quote from the Chaconne of Bach’s unaccompanied D Minor Partita. It turns out (once I read the notes), that the entire work springs out of an analysis of that work by German musicologist Helga Thoene, but you need not have read her analysis to enjoy this intriguing piece.

With the beginning of leaving without/palimpsest for clarinet and piano, I began to see the logic of interspersing the vocal brevities in between the much longer instrumental works. These function similarly to the cheese that separates courses of a French meal for the purpose of cleansing the palate. None of the songs is remotely centered on the tonality of D as the larger pieces are. D, especially D Minor therefore seems to be an idée fixe in the music of Füting, but I don’t mean to imply that he never diverges from this tonal center. The disc would wear out its welcome very quickly were that the case. The way he constructs his pieces seems an attempt to draw an otherwise almost atonal work into a tonality centered around D. This is a fascinating principle for the construction of a piece of music, and one I’ve seldom encountered in the music of other composers.

The first four minutes of leaving are for solo piano, but the ideas utilized in this extended introduction show up in the following half of the piece that includes the clarinet. The latter part sounds as if it includes microtones: clarinetist Joshua Rubin plays far too skillfully for me to believe that he’s simply playing out of tune. The range of the work often takes the clarinetist into its altissimo register, some notes so high that they are almost in the “dog whistle” range. Well, maybe I exaggerate, but they come close to exceed the attenuated range of my hearing, at least.

This is highly imaginative and innovative music that is not difficult to listen to for those whose ears have not been attuned to more advanced musical styles. The composer has a very intimate knowledge of the technical capabilities of the instruments he employs here, such that all of these pieces sound. They are likewise played and sung with superlative skill by their respective performers. The sonics on this disc are simply spectacular, so present and lifelike are all the instruments and voice. If CDs had sounded this good upon their initial arrival back in the 1980s, much of the controversy regarding their sound would have been foregone. Recommended then, especially to the adventurous.

– David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare

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First impressions, as we all know, can be wrong: presented with Reiko Füting’s namesErased, I immediately thought it might in some way be connected to the events of 9/11, given its glass skyscraper cover photo and elegiac title. In such a scenario, one imagines the German-born composer (b. 1970), like others before him, honouring the memory of those whose lives were taken on that sunny September morn fourteen years ago. Though Füting has taught composition and theory at the Manhattan School of Music since 2000, his debut full-length turns out to be a more straightforward affair in being a collection of contemporary chamber music that’s neither overtly conceptual in nature nor weighted down by tragedy. If there is an overall theme, it has do with the processes of memory as well as the manner by which past works of art affect the form later works assume. It’s clearly not insignificant that the Robert Rauschenberg work referenced by Füting in the titular work is the infamous 1953 piece Erased de Kooning Drawing, a choice that suggests Füting too has wrestled with the impact on his own compositional process by those who preceded him.

namesErased is a family affair too, with his wife, mezzo-soprano Nani Füting a recurring presence on the recording, and one piece dedicated to presumably the young couple's son. Not only does namesErased provide a comprehensive account of Füting’s breadth and interests as a composer, it’s also an in-depth reflection of the cultural world he inhabits, with Bach, Berg, Boulez, Feldman, Debussy, Schumann, and Ligeti referenced in the music, as well as non-musical figures such as Rauschenberg, Elizabeth Bishop, Haruki Marukami, and Goethe. The sound world as presented is remarkably rich, with Nani Füting joined on the recording by the Mivos Quartet, violinist Miranda Cuckson, and cellist John Popham, among others. The settings range from unaccompanied vocal, violin, and cello performances to piano duets involving clarinet, flute, and violin as well as an album-closing vocal-and-string quartet combination.

One of the album’s most appealing aspects has to do with structure and sequence. In “…gesammeltes Schweigen” (“…collected silence”), five solo vocal settings of haikus (by Reiner Bonack) appear as single-minute vignettes in amongst the longer works, a strategy that allows for a refreshing degree of contrast in duration and sonority; in addition, the short piece offers a refreshing opportunity to catch one’s breath after the sustained intensity of a longer work such as the cello-and-piano meditation Kaddish: The Art of Losing. Stylistically, Füting’s compositions fit comfortably within the contemporary classical sphere; at the same time, they’re profoundly informed by the work Bach and others produced, as shown by direct references to their works that Füting threads into his own.

The performances by all concerned are stellar throughout, but the playing of pianist Yegor Shevtsov, who provides sterling accompaniment in separate pieces to clarinetist Joshua Rubin, alto flutist Eric Lamb, and cellist John Popham, merits singling out. tanz.tanz (, which is based on an analysis of Bach’s Chaconne, is enlivened by violinist Miranda Cuckson in a standout performance, and flutist Luna Kang elevates ist – Mensch – geworden (was – made – man) with a similarly memorable display. Still, highlighting individual pieces seems a tad misguided, given how much one experiences namesErased as a cumulative whole. In weaving solo and chamber settings into an encompassing whole, the collection presents as in-depth an introduction to Füting’s world as could possibly be imagined.

– Ron Schepper, Textura

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Reiko Füting was born in 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen in the German Democratic Republic, studying composition and piano at the Dresden Conservatory; Rice University, Houston; the Manhattan School of Music and Seoul National University, South Korea. As well as composition, Füting has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the USA. He teaches composition and theory at the Manhattan School of Music and has appeared as guest faculty and lecturer at universities and conservatories in China, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea and the USA. He has written instrumental, chamber and orchestral works as well as choral and vocal works.

Now from New Focus Recordings comes a new release of solo, chamber and vocal works by Reiko Füting entitled namesErased. This new CD features members of New York City’s most celebrated contemporary ensembles, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Either/Or Ensemble, and the Mivos String Quartet performing works written by Füting over the past thirteen years.

In Kaddish: The Art of Losing (2008) the cello of John Popham opens bringing some quite distinctive ruminations, played remarkably. Soon the piano of Yegor Shevtsov enters quietly as the cello weaves its way ahead, a little theme showing through as it develops. The music grows in tension with a more strident, dissonant piano part and some very fine chords from the cello creating some wonderful textures and timbres. Incisive bowing from the cellist leads into a quieter passage before falling to a halt. The cello and piano slowly lead off again more gently before growing more agitated before another momentary pause. As they slowly move ahead again there is a sense of a heavy burden. Hushed vocal sounds are heard then the piano appears, leading slowly to the quiet coda that ends on a repeated single piano note.

Mezzo-soprano Nani Füting enters high up to open “Leises Geigenspiel…” (“Distant violin playing”) (2004), slowly extracting some highly characterised vocal shapes in this, the first extract on this disc from Füting’s “…gesammeltes Schweigen”. (“…collected silence”) a setting of texts by Reiner Bonack.

tanz.tanz ( (2010) for solo violin is based on the choral tunes in Bach’s Chaconne that were discovered by the German musicologist Helga Thoene. These choral tunes are woven throughout the Chaconne and serve as the source material for Füting. The soloist Miranda Cuckson opens, winding a line of textures, slowly adding bolder, more vibrant chords. She weaves a remarkable texture creating some very fine moments, with absolutely terrific playing. There is always a distinguishable forward line as this violinist reveals some finely shaped phrases. Throughout, a broader theme seems to be lurking. This is a formidable challenge for any violinist; here Cuckson is terrific.

Mezzo Nani Füting brings another extract from “…gesammeltes Schweigen”, “Fiel ein Stück Himmel…” (“Did a piece of the sky…(fall)”) in which she combines vocal sounds, sung text and occasional sprechgesang, very finely controlled.

leaving without/palimpsest(2006) is based on the old German folk tune Gesegn dich Laub (Bless you leaves) and brings clarinetist Joshua Rubin and pianist Yegor Shevtsov who opens slowly suggesting a little theme, rising in dynamics occasionally as it develops before falling to a brief halt. The music picks up slowly but halts again as the clarinet joins, bringing some finely tongued sounds between the melody. Füting often stretches the tonal abilities of the clarinet, verging on the shrill, not necessarily capitalising on the mellower aspects of the clarinet. Nevertheless, some remarkable sounds are produced as the theme moves along, Füting showing how he always manages to hold an overall musical line before ending on a simple hushed piano note.

The third extract from “…gesammeltes Schweigen” is “Das alte Weingut…” (“The old vineyard”) where Nani Füting brings a lower range as she carefully delivers some very finely shaped text, vocally quite superb.

The title work, names, erased (Prélude) (2012) features cellist John Popham and uses musical material from Bach, Berg, and Ligeti, compositionally treated to reflect the erasing process of Robert Rauschenberg in his famous Erased de Kooning drawing. The cello opens by ruminating on a motif. Here again this soloist proves to be a very fine artist, allowing a theme to emerge from the closely woven texture of the opening. It is fascinating to follow the suggested musical lines that subtly emerge. There are many little subtleties in this piece that bear repeated listening before we are led to a hushed coda.

The fourth extract from “…gesammeltes Schweigen” is “Die Teiche im Dunst…” (“The Ponds in Mist”) where mezzo-soprano Nani Füting rises from a lower pitch as she slowly allows the music to unfold in this remarkable, if short, piece.

ist – Mensch – geworden (was – made – man) (2014) is based on quotations from such diverse composers as Josquin, Bach, Schumann and Debussy with additional material from Boulez, Morton Feldman, Beat Furrer, Jo Kondo, Tristan Murail and Nils Vigeland. Flautist Luna Kang and pianist Jing Yang leap out suddenly as strident flute and piano chords are heard. The flute slowly subsides in more subtle textures before leading ahead with drooping notes and piano accompaniment. There are some lovely flute arabesques within a rather fragmentary line. As the flute develops the melodic theme, there are varying tempi with more strident, staccato passages. Flautist Luna Kang intersperses occasional breath and vocal sounds before repeated shrill flute phrases.

land – haus – berg (land – house – mountain) (2009) is for solo piano and takes settings of Goethe’s poem Kennst du das Land, wo die Citronen blühen (Do you know the land where the lemons blossom) by Beethoven, Schumann and Wolf. Yegor Shevtsov brings a rolling theme that is nevertheless broken by rests. It is rhythmically varied, the pianist bringing a really lovely feel to the music through his fine phrasing. Later there is a repeated note like a drip, drip before the music increases in flow yet still with occasional pauses. The lovely coda arrives with a single note. This is rather a lovely piece.

The fifth and final extract from “…gesammeltes Schweigen” is “Hoch im Gebirge…” (“High in the mountains”) where mezzo Nani Füting brings some intense phrases as she moves around to a hushed coda.

light, asleep (2002) for violin and piano opens with pianist David Broome introducing a broadly fragmented theme. Violinist Olivia de Prato enters quietly bringing a longer musical line, developing the theme with some fine textures and timbres. Later there is a dissonant piano passage that develops the theme before the violin re-joins with some lovely phrases that burst out in little surges. The music moves through some very fine passages for solo violin before the coda.

finden – suchen (to find, to search) (2002) was written for a concert of works by former students of Jörg Herchet on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Here the alto flute of Eric Lamb is soon joined by cellist John Popham and pianist Yegor Shevtsov in a tentative theme, finely phrased with some lovely sonorities. Little flute trills rise out as the music is taken slowly and gently forward, building moments of more decisiveness before the flute brings the gentle end.

“…und ich bin Dein Spiegel” (“and I am Your reflection”) (2002) for mezzo-soprano and string quartet was a commission for the Festival Magdeburgisches Concert and is based on excerpts from the fragmentary writing of Mechthild von Magdeburg (c.1207-1282). Mezzo-soprano Nani Füting is joined by the Mivos String Quartet (Olivia de Prato and Josh Modney (violin), Victor Lowrie (viola) and Mariel Roberts (cello). This work gives Nani Füting a more sustained opportunity to bring her considerable vocal skills to a more extended piece. She enters alone with a simple little melody, showing her very fine voice, musical, flexible and melodic. She then varies the melody, bringing a variety of vocal techniques, moving around vocally, often showing a terrific ability to suddenly rise up high. The quartet enters slowly, picking over the theme in fragmented chords before rising in passion and developing some very fine moments with terrific textures and sonorities. When Füting reenters she brings some declamatory phrases that complement the quartet, showing terrific control in her dynamic leaps. There is a vibrant, volatile passage for swirling string quartet strings bringing a terrific outflow of textures before Füting returns along with quieter, yet still strident, quartet textures leading to this mezzo’s final outburst at the end. This is a terrific conclusion to this disc.

It is Füting’s ability to subtly develop themes within a richer and often quite complex texture that is so attractive. The recording is detailed, revealing every texture and timbre and there are useful notes as well as full texts and English translations. This is a most welcome release.

– Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer

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My friend and former Manhattan School of Music colleague Reiko Fueting has had a portrait CD released on New Focus Recordings. The program is very thoughtfully constructed, with chamber pieces for varying forces interspersed with solo vocal pieces from the song cycle “…gesammeltes Schweigen.” The latter are performed with affecting poise by Nani Fueting. The CD also includes performances by Mivos Quartet, clarinetist Joshua Rubin, flutists Eric Lamb and Luna Kang, violinist Miranda Cuckson, cellist John Popham and pianists David Broome, Yegor Shevstov, and Jing Yang.

– Christian B. Carey

Reiko Füting manages to write music that is quite busy and yet sounds barren (in a good way). The surface of the instrumental portions of the music is composed of scratches and scrapes, quick alternation between pitches, brief glimpses of harmonics as the fingers slide up the strings. There are very few gaps in the sound and almost no long held tones. Still, I sense an empty or hollow affect that I think comes from the lack of clear harmonic rhythm or traceable thematic arcs. Without a sense of progress or motion, even active music can sound static. This works well with Füting’s inspiration for many of his pieces. He lists composers from several centuries as sources for pieces like names, erased. Bach, Debussy, Ligeti, Berg, Josquin, Schumann, and Boulez all find their way into his work. Füting’s use of these musical ancestors irrespective of historical position runs counter to narratives of progress that many modernists espouse. The apparent lack of desire to move beyond the musical past parallels the lack of forward motion on the music’s surface. This style does become repetitive after several pieces in a row, but the music is easy to appreciate.

– George Adams, American Record Guide

The composer Reiko Füting was a name new to me. He was born in the DDR in 1970 and studied at Dresden Conservatory, Rice University, Manhattan School of Music, and Seoul National University. He currently teaches at Manhattan School of Music where he is chair of the theory department. This disc, namesErased, from New Focus Recordings presents us with a selection of Füting’s recent vocal and instrumental music.

So we have Kaddish: The Art of Losing played by cellist John Popham and pianist Yegor Shevtsov, tanz.tanz played by violinist Miranda Cuckson, leaving without/palimpsest played by Joshua Rubin (clarinet) and Yegor Shevtsov (piano), names, erased (Prélude) played by John Popham (cello), ist – Mensch – geworden played by Luna Kang (flutes) and Jing Yang (piano), land – haus – berg played by Yegor Shevtsov (piano), light, asleep played by Olivia de Prato (violin) and David Broome (piano), finden – suchen played by Eric Lamb (alto flute), John Popham (cello), Yegor Shevtsov (piano), and “…und ich bin Dein Spiegel” performed by Nani Füting (mezzo-soprano), the Mivos Quartet (Olivia de Prato, Joshua Modney, Victor Lowrie, Mariel Roberts), interspersed with movements from “…gesammeltes Schweigen” sung by Nani Füting.

Most of the pieces on the disc seem to have extra-musical or musical connections, either building on pre-existing musical structures of referring to non-musical ones. This might be inferred perhaps from the epigrammatic nature of the title, but there is nothing pastiche-like about Reiko Füting’s work, he speaks with a very definite and rather striking music accent.

Kaddish: The Art of Losing for cello and piano was an 80th birthday gift to a German musicologist. The piece is based on the novel, Kaddish for a Child Unborn by Hungarian writer Imre Kertesz, though the title also refers to a poem by Elizabeth Bishop. We start with just a solo cello playing a sequence of motifs, all harmonic heavy; in a technique which crops up a lot on the disc, the cello and then cello and piano explore the opening motifs repeating and varying. The tone is serious and thoughtful, there is an evocative piano postlude which recapitulates the material.

tanz.tanz for solo violin is based on German musicologist Helga Thoene’s analysis of Bach’s Chaconne with its structure of chorales woven into it. Though the title also refers to the novel Dance Dance Dance by Japanese writer Haruki Marakami. There are hints of the original in the piece as the violin incessantly explores a group of motifs using a variety of playing techniques (arco, pizzicato, marcato, harmonics).

leaving without/palimpsest, for clarinet and piano, based on an earlier composition for piano, leaving without, which in turn had a German folk-tune Gesegn dich Laub (Bless you leaves). The piano plays note clusters which seem based on intervals always rising or falling. The style is austere and spare despite the harmonic clusters, and when the clarinet joins it uses a number of advanced techniques and the two instruments seem to re-visit the piano’s material but in a different way.

names, erased (Prélude) is based on quotations from Bach, Berg, Ligeti and Füting’s own compositions, and is related to the solo cello suites by Bach, and to Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning. It uses a lot of string crossing, a la Bach, but with harmonics and orther interesting effects. There is a magical sound world which is light and evocative, as if the lower part of the music had been erased.

ist – Mensch – geworden for flute and piano is based on fragmented quotes from Josquin, Bach, Schumann, Debussy, Boulez, Feldmann, Tristan Murail, as well as the importance of the number three (three flutes, three words, three main pitches, three sections). Using advanced flute techniques, the fragments interact in dialogue between the instruments cycling round the various motifs. The texture is transparent, and the overall feel thoughtful, though I did not really detect any of the quotations. It leads straight to the thoughtful piano solo land – haus – berg which is based on Beethoven’s, Schumann’s and Wolf’s setting of Goethe’s poem Kennst du das Land.

light, asleep, for violin and piano, was originally based on a 17th century song, though by the time the work was finished Füting feels that only the title and general atmosphere reflect the source material. It is a spare and evocative with the two instruments intersecting rather than accompanying each other.

finden – suchen, for alto flute, cello and piano, again has this sense of sparseness, with the three instruments cycling round the material, and a sense of lines intersecting in space rather than creative dialogue.

The works are interspersed with movements from “…gesammeltes Schweigen”, setting poems from the collection Gespannte Stille by Reiner Bonack set originally for baritone and piano and here heard in a version for unaccompanied mezzo-soprano. Each movement is quite short and the style expressive, the jagged intervals making the piece uneasy feeling.

The final work on the disc, “…und ich bin Dein Spiegel” for mezzo-soprano and string quartet is based on excerpts from writings of Mechthild von Magdeburg (c1207-1282), as well as a Minnelied and a medieval Latin sequence. It opens with mezzo-soprano Nani Füting singing unaccompanied, a rather chant-like medieval melody which she then proceeds to de-construct, the quartet takes over examining the material in intense fashion before all five performers join together to create something rather intense as Füting develops the material and then suddenly ends mid-air.

The performances on the disc are exemplary, and all convey the strong impression of Reiko Füting’s voice. His style of composition is one which does not take prisoners, but within its severity, intensity and logic is a sense of magic too. This is music which repays listening.

– Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

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Reiko Füting (1970- ) is the chair of the music department at the Manhattan School of Music. The present album is actually my introduction to this man and his work. It consists of a series of 15 works written between 2000 and 2014.

These works tend to emphasize brevity especially the solo vocal pieces (tracks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10). These, originally for baritone and piano are here rendered very effectively as solo vocal pieces. They are used as a sort of punctuation in this recording of mostly brief pieces which remind this listener of Webern at times. They are in fact the movements of a collection called, “…gesammeltes Schweigen” (2004/2011, translated as Collected Silence). It is worth the trouble to listen to these in order as a complete set.

The first track here is also the longest piece on the album at 15:43. Kaddish: The Art of Losing (2014) for cello and piano is an elegiac piece inspired by several people and seems to be about both loss and remembrance. The writing in this powerful and affecting piece is of an almost symphonic quality in which both instruments are completely interdependent as they share notes and phrases. The cello is called upon to use a variety of extended techniques and the piano part is so fully integrated as to make this seem like a single instrument rather than solo with accompaniment. It has a nostalgic quality and is a stunning start to this collection of highly original compositions.

tanz.tanz ( (2010) is a sort of Bachian exegesis of the Chaconne from the D minor violin partita. This sort of homage is not uncommon especially in the 20th/21st century and this is a fascinating example of this genre. The writing is similar to what was heard in the cello writing in the first track. This piece is challenging and highly demanding of the performer. It is a delicate though complex piece but those complexities do not make for difficult listening.

leaving without/palimpsest (2006) for clarinet and piano begins with a piano introduction after which the clarinet enters in almost pointillistic fashion as it becomes integrated to the structure initiated by the piano. Again, the composer is fond of delicate sounds and a very close relationship between the musicians.

names, erased (Prélude) (2012) is for solo cello and is, similar to the solo violin piece tanz.tanz, a Bach homage. The performer executes the composer’s signature delicate textures which utilize quotes from various sources including the composer himself. And again the complexities and extended techniques challenge the performer far more than the listener in this lovely piece.

Track 9 contains two pieces: ist – Mensch – geworden (was – made – man, 2014) for flute and piano and land – haus – berg (land – house – mountain, 2008) for piano. Both pieces involve quotation from other music in this composer’s compact and unique style. Here he includes references to Morton Feldman, J.S. Bach, Alban Berg, György Ligeti, Schumann, Debussy, Nils Vigeland, Beat Furrer, Jo Kondo and Tristan Murail.

light, asleep (2002/2010) for violin and piano apparently began its life as a piece based on quotation but, as the liner notes say, lost those actual quotes in the process of revision.

finden – suchen (to find-to search, 2003/2011) for alto flute, cello and piano is a lyrical piece with the same interdependent writing that seems to be characteristic of this composer’s style.

“…und ich bin Dein Spiegel” (“…and I am Your Reflection”, 2000/2012) is a setting of fragments by a medieval mystic Mechthild von Magdeburg for mezzo-soprano and string quartet. This is deeply introspective music.

All of Füting’s compositions have a very personal quality with deeply embedded references. His aesthetic seems to be derived from his roots in the German Democratic Republic having been born into that unique nation state both separate from the West German state and still deeply connected to it. He is of a generation distant from the historical events that gave birth to that artificially separate German nation but, no doubt, affected by its atmosphere.

The musicians on this recording include David Broome, piano; Miranda Cuckson, violin; Nani Füting (the composer’s wife), mezzo-soprano; Luna Cholong Kang, flutes; Eric Lamb, flutes; Joshua Rubin, clarinet; John Popham, cello; Yegor Shevtsov, piano; Jing Yang, piano; and the Mivos Quartet. All are dedicated and thoughtful performances executed effortlessly.

The recording is the composer’s production engineered by Ryan Streber. This is a very original set of compositions which benefit from multiple hearings.

– New Music Buff

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Der Name Reiko Füting wird bei einigen Dresdner Konzertbesuchern Erinnerungen wecken – der 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen geborene Komponist hat in den 90-er Jahren an der Dresdner Musikhochschule seine Ausbildung genossen und diese sehr bald in den USA fortgesetzt, wo er heute noch lebt und an der renommierten Manhattan School of Music in New York eine Professur für Theorie und Komposition innehat. Musikalisch hat er jedoch immer wieder Spuren in Dresden hinterlassen und für hiesige Ensembles und Chöre neue Werke komponiert, zuletzt etwa “höhen – stufen”, 2014 von der Singakademie aufgeführt.

Jetzt ist unter dem Namen “namesErased” eine CD mit Solowerken, Kammermusik und Vokalwerken beim Label New Focus Recordings erschienen. Herausragend in ihrer Konzentration wirken die Interpretationen der versierten Instrumentalisten, die nahezu alle von renommierten Neue-Musik-Ensembles aus New York stammen. Wenn Füting selbst über seine Absicht zu schreiben sagt, er möchte “Erfahrungen von Form – Zeit – Raum” im Komponieren verwirklichen, so ist diese CD besonders dazu geeignet, sich mit diesen Themen hörend auseinanderzusetzen und dabei Füting als sehr klangsinnlichen, aber eben auch formbedachten Tonschöpfer kennenzulernen.

Vielen der eher in kleineren Zeit-Formen geschriebenen und auf der CD auch mit kurzen Solo-Vokalsätzen verschränkten Stücke merkt man ein suchendes Vortasten an. Da werden Töne und Harmonien etwa im namengebenden “names, erased” für Cello Solo sorgsam erkundet, ihr Ausdruckspotenzial erforscht, bevor man sich auf die Reise zum nächsten Ton oder Ausdrucksraum gibt. Eine solche Herangehensweise schafft viel Ruhe und so sind wenige aktionsgeladene Passagen der Musik (etwa in “tanz.tanz” für Violine Solo) schon fast überraschend, wirken aber ebenso behutsam in den Kontext gesetzt. Wenn Füting sich im letzten Stück der CD “…und ich bin dein Spiegel” dann mit Texten und Gedanken der Mechthild von Magdeburg aus dem 13. Jahrhundert befasst, erscheint die Zeit nicht mehr existent oder relevant: die Worte liegen im Fluss der Musik.

– Alexander Keuk, mehr licht

…through which the past shines (with Nils Vigeland)

New Focus Recordings
Catalog No. FCR204

This unusual album of modern guitar music features the work of American composer Nils Vigeland and German composer Reiko Füting, both of whom were faculty members at the Manhattan School of Music at the time when guitarist Daniel Lippel also studied there. As the notes point out, both composers like to quote and integrate themes from older music into their work, which are then mutated into their own work. Füting also liked using an alternate tuning for the guitar, made around the overtone series of low D, going up to A-C-F#-B-E, working around the pitch discrepancies between the fretted notes on the guitar and its natural harmonics. Vigeland uses a similar approach in the La Folia Variants.

…Next we hear Füting’s wand-uhr: infinite shadows, which despite the tuning described above “sounds” to the naked ear like a standard guitar piece with unusual “slides” and pitches tossed in here and there. It is a softer piece than the previous two works, comprised mostly of short, rapid figures played in an almost perpetuum mobile fashion. Towards the end, he also slaps the body of the guitar, sometimes playing notes (and whispering) at the same time.

The odd tuning of the guitar is much more noticeable in red wall (after the arrangement of the folk song Hine ma Tov), where Lippel plays with extraordinary facility and, again, a light touch. To my ears, however, the music in this piece meanders a bit too much and says very little.

– Lynn René Bailey, The Art Music Lounge

A sleeper is always a welcome thing. For it is something you put on knowing nothing of what to expect and in time it hits you as something quite important. That right now for me is the album entitled "...through which the past shines..." Works by Nils Vigeland and Reiko Futing (New Focus Recordings FCR204P). It is a series of chamber works for solo guitar plus guitar and cello, and one longer work for guitar, cello and piano.

The first thing that hit me and what is important to note straight off is the remarkable classical guitar performances by Daniel Lippel. He has a very beautiful tone, righteous phrasings and a kind of transcendent way of sounding his parts. I sometimes while listening forget it is even a guitar, it is so musically right, the technique so solidly put in the service of the music itself.

So Daniel is on guitar, solo for six of the works, joined by John Popham on cello for two of the eight works. Popham convinces in his interactions both for his adhesion to an ensemble sound and the poignant beauty of his playing. Then composer Nils Vigeland joins the two for a ravishing trio on the title cut. He is eloquent in his role as pianist.

And as for the compositions, five by Nils Vigeland, two by Reiko Futing plus an arrangement of an old song by Reiko, they have a very modern, tonal and expanded tonal naturalness to them. There is a fundamental foundational quality to it all. It is as if we finally as listeners and music makers have become so conversant with the combination of avant and post-avant idioms that a fluent and knowing musical conversation is now further opened up and very possible for those who can speak it and those who can listen. That is very so with this program.

The music could be improvisational in its spontaneity, yet it all shows a tightening in execution and a rarified sort of discursiveness that most group improvisations cannot quite get to, as beautiful as they might be. It is the projective staging of the music that stands forward in the mind's eye. The music is at once Modern but also timeless. It is not noisily extroverted in its insistence (and nothing wrong with that to my mind), but it nevertheless insists, make no mistake.

In the end the more you put this one on, the greater the riches it yields. It is a fortuitous and by that a critical meeting of compositions and players covering works from 1990 through to 2017, performing what surely is a music of right now.

It may not have occurred to you that you need to hear this. After all there are so many other things by established big names and the music of the enshrined dead. With any luck this album might be looked back upon as a highlight of what is going on today. So be on the ground floor of that and get inside this music. I think you will glad you did.

– Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Who are we kidding? We don’t know anything about the players or composers on this set. What we do know is that this puts us in the mind of early on ECM cool school guitar sets as well as great recordings by contemporary classical guitar pros like Chris Parkening, John Williams, Julian Bream, Liona Boyd and others. It might be a case of we don’t know what we’re talking about but we know what we like. Covering a lot of ground from composed to experimental, it all comes together in a glorious whole that’s just a gasser. Hot stuff throughout.

– Chris Spector, Midwest Record

This fine recording collects new and recent works for guitar by American composer Nils Vigeland (b. 1950) and composer Reiko Füting (197), who was born in what was then East Germany and has since resided in America and South Korea. Vigeland, who studied with Lukas Foss and Morton Feldman, is also a pianist and appears here as such on the title track along with cellist John Popham. The guitarist on all pieces is Daniel Lippel, a majore voice in interpreting contemporary composed music.

… Füting’s three contributions include two original compositions for solo guitar—the energetic, perpetual motion of wand-uhr (2013/2016) and Red Wall (2006), along with his 2009 arrangement of the traditional Jewish hymn Hine ma Tov. Red Wall is the most intriguing of the three; it abandons linear development in favor of an irregular sequence of juxtaposed, non-contingent events which draw out a rich, if subtle, range of colors from the guitar. Lippel’s performance is particularly compelling as he makes explicit the timbral implications of Füting’s stable and unstable chords, harmonics, single note runs and trills, volatile dynamics, and leaps of register. Here as everywhere else on the recording, Lippel plays with a characteristically pristine tone and precise voicings.

– Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News

Guitarist Daniel Lippel's "…though which the past shines…" is a collection of solo and ensemble works by contemporary composers Nils Vigeland and Reiko Füting. Lippel holds a doctoral degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and has performed at festivals across the globe from the Macau Modern Music Festival to the Teatro Amazonas in Brazil. The recording is a tribute to the progressive and innovative music of the Manhattan School [sic], conceived by Vigeland and Füting, which had a profound influence on the guitarist. The album begins with the deliberate "I. Double" presenting edgy melodic sequences flanked by delicate interludes featuring lush harmonics. On the ambitious title track composer Nils Vigeland makes a special guest appearance on piano. Along with cellist John Popham they pay homage to the modernist music of their formative years and at the same time valiantly progress towards the future. The use of silence, delicate interplay, and dissonant harmonies allows the trio to create sonic vignettes that challenge and inspire the listener. The track "wand-uhr: infinite shadows" contains lavish cascading arpeggios, sparse persuasive sections, foot stomping and wordless vocals. The Beatles inspired "Quodlibet" finds the cellist and guitarist meandering through spacious and sonorous valleys of post-modernistic landscapes. Popham's masterful cello intuitively complements the guitarist's diverse and brilliantly executed passages. The album ends with "Hine Ma Tov" an introspective and reflective deconstruction of a traditional Jewish hymn. Dan Lippel's " . . .through which the past shines . . ." shows a deep understanding of the historical lineage of contemporary music while boldly redefining the future of the genre. Although challenging, the recording offers numerous rewards for adventurous listeners. The album should also help bring the inventive and influential compositions of Vigeland and Füting to a wider audience. This release is highly recommended for aficionados of contemporary music or for those wanting to expand their musical horizons.

– James Scott, Minor 7th

“Through which the past shines” present works by Nils Vigeland and Reiko Füting, which is performed by Daniel Lippel (guitar), John Popham (cello), and Nils Vigeland on piano. Vigeland studied with Lukas Foss and Morton Feldman. Füting grew up in the former German Democratic Republic, where he received his first educations. Later he studied composition with Vigeland and nowadays he is teaching composition himself at the Manhattan School of Music. Lippel is a reputed performer of solo and chamber music, and a very sensitive player as this recording shows. Lippel is playing on all compositions that are presented here. What makes this release especially interesting for lovers of acoustic guitar in modern music [sic].

– DM, Vital Weekly

Daniel Lippel’s records are curious. They have the oblique ability to never be the same. The sound maybe yes. Sound intended as a style, as an imprinter of the interpreter, as a mental and physical elaboration, as a personal contribution of the performer to the composer’s creative work. As an encounter, fusion, grafting of two creative minds, as the appropriation and continuation of a work begun by another creative mind. In this CD we have the composers Nils Vigeland and Reiko Füting who offer us these compositions, mostly recent, created between 1989 and 2011, for solo guitar, for duo guitar and cello and, in one case, in trio with piano, played by Vigeland himself.

In the booklet that accompanies the CD Daniel Lippel cites the tension of these music suspended in balance between the security offered by the past and the tension towards the future. It’s a complex balance. The risk is yet another neoclassicism. The risk is in self-referentiality, the fall in a vicious circle in which the music reassures because it sounds as already listen to before and at the same time bores as derivative. Excess? The lack of communication of languages. The rejection of a shared expression.

This risk or rather these two risky possibilities seem to me excluded from the music in this CD. They are not pretentiously unlistenable, they don’t sound boringly as already listen to before. They express contemporaneity, express a social, economic, cultural reality that has gone beyond post-modernism, which plays with all styles, and in which the only apparent limit is the imagination and courage of those who compose and perform. This record is a masterpiece.

– NeuGuitars

Reiko Füting is a German-born composer and educator who studied around the world, including with Vigeland. His wand-uhr: infinite shadows (2013/16) takes inspiration from a poem by Joseph von Eichendorff but my ears picked out sonorities and techniques that reminded me of Davy Graham's jazz-inspired folk guitar solos. It's even easy to imagine Jimmy Page interpolating some of this into his Black Mountain Side, were he to grace a stage with his presence ever again. Füting's red wall (2006), uses dissonance and a broad dynamic range in tribute to the natural beauty of The Alps. Füting's arrangement of the traditional Jewish song Hine ma Tov is also included, using an almost Cubist approach to deconstruct the familiar melody.

– An Earful

Selected Compositions

Instrumental (Solo)

sound: wonder: tuba mirum

In “sound: wonder: tuba mirum,” a piece Lang asked his German mentor Reiko Fueting to compose for him over seven years ago, there are very oblique references to Mozart’s “Requiem” – a part of which Lang describes as “the moment we live for in orchestral trombone.” This piece showcased a rather intrinsic aspect of trombone playing – the act of breathing as a part of performative play, the silent spaces inbetween becoming a part of the musical performance itself. However, these empty spaces and long, drawn-out sounds rising and falling in an alien crescendo do not necessarily play well to an audience which expects clear consistent notes that a guitar or keyboard can provide in a solo act. Elizabeth Maloney, a junior said, “It was a strange performance. It lacked beauty and it wasn’t very captivating – just noises from a science fiction soundtrack.” Where the trombone “lack[s] beauty,” it makes up for with a diversity of sound. Lang truly showed off the full scope of the instrument’s performative power on Monday.  

The GatePost


Reiko Füting’s tanz.tanz was based on a formal analysis of Bach’s Chaconne and even used some of the original material as inspiration, yet the relationship is nearly indiscernible on first hearig. Fragments of phrases buzzed by at a sporadic pace as Cuckson, with a light bow and generous use of harmonics, spun out a seemingly endless run-on sentence. It was a tour de force of technical prowess. Certainly with such intellectual underpinnings, one might assume this music is of great significance. Perhaps like James Joyce’s “Ullyses,” one could mine it over time for meaning. Yet with only one performance, it was a flat experience.

– Lynn René Bailey, The Art Music Lounge

This piece is fascinating to me, precisely because I’m not sure how to interact with it. It has a sense of immediacy to it that is not unlike Saariaho’s solo-instrument writing. It seems to be a collage of gestures. Each one with its own immediate meaning and relevance. I understand emotionally what is happening at an given instant, and intellectually the individual motions make sense. But what it is that’s moving the work forward, that’s giving me a sense of temporal location within a music that’s so striking and lovely is illuding me. Sometime soon I need to get the score to this and spend a day with it.

– Anonymous

Olivia de Prato danced through the distantly baroque and then Asian inflections in a Reiko Fueting number…

– New York Music Daily

Reiko Füting’s tanz.tanz pays homage to Haruki Murakami’s novel Dansu Dansu Dansu as well as Chorale tunes discovered by Helga Thoene in J.S. Bach’s Chaconne in D minor. Combining echoes of Bach’s formal structures with a surreal timbral language inspired by Murakimi’s novel, Füting’s work is a more overtly intellectual exploration. Motives ornamented in a style reminiscent of traditional Japanese Kokyu are methodically developed in timbre and dynamic. De Prato’s interpretation delivers the essence of this synthesized style through a now familiar attention to detail and intelligent as well as nimble elegance in phrasing.

– I Care if You Listen

In its jaunty octaves and variations, Reiko Fueting’s tanz.tanz rather obliquely references both the chorale riffs woven into the famous Bach Chaconne, and also the Haruki Marakami novel Dance Dance Dance.

– delarue, New York Music Daily

tanz.tanz by Reiko Füting is also based on an intellectual construct, in this case a study of the Chaconne from Bach’s D Minor Partita, but maybe only a musicologist would know that from listening. I hear a tightly constricted approach, both in the palette of notes and in the length of the lines, that intrigues due to all it leaves out. The premier recording of tanz.tanz was by Miranda Cuckson on an album of Füting’s work release in 2015 called “namesErased”, which I’m looking forward to investigating.

– Jeremy Shatan, An Earful

Olivia de Prato, an Austro-Italian violinist based in Brooklyn, initiates her discography with Streya, an anthology of contemporary pieces by composers few but specialists will have heard of. According to a liner note by the composer Reiko Füting, the solo tanz.tanz derives from Bach’s celebrated Ciaconna from the Violin Partita No. 5 in D minor. Though that baroque tour de force is something of a CoD signature piece, I couldn’t detect no trace of it. But the catalogue of virtuosic effects—slashing, picking, buzzing, bouncing off the strings – is astounding, all the more so for the lightness and delicacy De Prato folds in to sections that simply explode.

– Matthew Gurewitsch, Beyond Criticism

…whereas Füting’s impish tanz.tanz coyly references Bach’s Chaconne whilst also drawing for inspiration from the Haruki Marakami novel Dance Dance Dance.

– Ron Schepper, Textura

…while Reiko Füting’s tanz.tanz extrapolates a musicological analysis of Bach’s Chaconne into something harrowing yet energizing.

– Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily

Reiko Füting’s tanz.tanz is based on the closing movement of Bach’s D minor Partita, a shimmering, elusive delight. De Prato’s confidence bring this challenging repertoire to colourful life, and production values are superb.

– The Arts Desk

In the first of the evening’s two premieres, Upon My Wings, Doori Na again made a vivid impression in the music of Reiko Fueting: tanz.tanz was composed for solo violin as an homage to Bach’s famous Chaconne. This ballet, originally entitled tanz.tanz, was commissioned by the Columbia Ballet Collaborative, where it premiered in 2014. For his own company, Miro has distilled the dancing to a duet for Sarah Atkins and Cassidy Hall.

Skittering sounds from Doori’s violin find the two dancers balancing against one another’s bodies. They kneel and sway. The choreography features the intimate and physically taxing same-sex partnering that Miro has been exploring of late: for example, Sarah being rotated by Cassidy in an off-center balance.

The violin stutters and buzzes, and Doori shows his mastery with some ultra-soft playing, so subtle and shining. The girls echo one another in turns as the music goes Bachian; the ballet ends in silence.

– Oberon's Grove

The music, Reiko Fueting’s tanz.tanz, is neither easy listening nor easy playing. Quick alternation between plucking strings and scraping with the bow, lots of chords, and a punishing top note make high technical demands. Harshness and soothing melody trade off, sometimes very quickly, as With Care moves through Cage, Bach, Wesley, improvisations, and Aucoin. Putting it all together is not easy, either, but maybe we’re not meant to.

– San Francisco Classical Voice

The main pairings consist of Bach’s Chaconne and Reiko Fueting’s “tanz.tanz”, and Georg Friedrich Haas’ “de terrae fine” and Eugène Ysaÿe’s “L”Aurore” from his Sonata No. 5. Reiko’s piece is based on chorale tunes hidden in the Bach Chaconne- these were pointed out by musicologist Helga Thoene and recorded on the “Morimur” CD by Christoph Poppen and the Hilliard ensemble. The Fueting refers to these snippets of chorales but takes the music into a very different sound world and a scurrying, agitated mood. Haas’ “de terrae fine” is a stark interior portrait of depression and loneliness- a very painful but remarkable moving work. He makes strikingly effective expressive use of microtonality. I didn’t want to finish the concert with the Haas so I thought of a great closer to lift the spirits: “L’Aurore” evokes the awakening of the earth, beginning with lovely harmonies and nature sounds and blossoming into the radiance of day by the end.

– Miranda Cuckson Blog

The most clearly classical influence is heard on Reiko Füting’s “tanz.tanz” [German to English: “Dance, Dance”], which is fashioned on an analysis of Bach’s “Chaconne” by German musicologist Helga Thoene. Füting reveals in the liner notes Bach’s choral tunes “are woven into the texture of this unique closing statement of the D Minor Partita [and] form the original material of my composition.” The composition’s title also refers to Japanese novelist Haruki Marukami’s book Dance Dance Dance. Ironically, the nine-minute “tanz.tanz” is not a dance tune but rather a neo-classical piece with precisely rendered movements and pacing but is not highly rhythmic per se.

– Audiophile Audition

red wall

Reiko Fueting’s 2006 red wall followed.  Dan Lippel’s expressive performance captured well the cold but lively atmosphere of the piece, and its unpredictable gestures and phrases seemed to be telling a story: though the language the music was speaking sounded unfamiliar, a narrative could clearly be felt.


leaving without

East German by origin and now teaching music theory at the Manhattan School of Music, he is clearly a composer who merits further hearing. leaving without was a striking example of modern minimalism, yet was not without subjective emotional appeal. It’s astringent purity and eloquent silences were judged cleansing of the musical palette.

Barnes Mortlake and Sheen Times

gleichzeitig nacheinander

Auch in Reiko Fütings eigenem Beitrag, “gleichzeitg nacheinander”, konnte man man den Spuren einer monodischen Linie nachlauschen, die von umgebenden Ereignissen verdeckt, schließlich in dichtere Akkorde, einige kurz angedeutete rhythmisch federnde Gesten aufgelöst wurde. Auch dieses Stück blieb am Ende offen.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Fütings Komposition “gleichzeitg nacheinander” kombinierte Insich-schwingen und Verbinden von schnell wechselnden, unterschiedlichen Klangebenen durch Melos. Das Gefühl für das Pianistische spielte hier ein große Rolle.

Heilbronner Stimme

Chamber Music (2 to 5 Players)

procession – process: peace (dona nobis pacem)

The listener then dives into Reiko Füting’s procession – process: peace (dona nobis pacem), a plea for peace in a state of rising political tensions. A procession or chant of sorts is interrupted by shrieks and chaos, most notably from Fourqurean’s clarinet and Souza’s violin, almost like demons trying to burst into a melancholy religious ceremony. Each instrument plays double roles of the “demons” and the chant, which grows more complete as the work continues, until all four instruments are finally able to end in rhythmic unison, dying away.

Sybaritic Singer, Katie Heilmann

re-fraction: shadows (palimpsest, palimpsest 2)

In den Mittelpunkt seines aktuellen Programmes hat das elole-Klaviertrio “re-faction: shadows” von Reiko Füting gestellt. Es vereint zwei Aspekte, die auch für die übrigen Stücke grundlegend sind: im Bereich der Form geht es um Überlappung, klanglich steht die Entfalung des Obertonspektrums einzelner Töne im Vordergrund. Der zweite Teil des Stückes von Reko Füting greift den ersten wieder auf, aber teilweise ist er durch vorher unbekannte Klänge überschrieben. Dies ist bereits in der Fassung für Cello solo zu merken. In “re-fraction: shadows/palimpsest 2” komplettiert das Klavier das Trio. Die zweiteilige Struktur belbit erhalten, zusätzlich überschrieben die beiden neuen Instrumente aber auch das ursprüngliche Cellsolo. Teile daraus treten in den Hintergrund, Elemente der beiden neuen Instrumente dränge sich nach vorne. Unterschiedliche musikalische Entwicklungen überlappen sich gegenseitig.

Leonardi Museum Dresden

The trio, made up of John Popham, Pala Garcia (violin), and Renate Rohlfing (piano) kicked off the concert with the third movement of Reiko Füting’s refraction: shadows/palimpsest 2 (2007), using the cello as the launching point and foundation. The piece evoked harmonies centered around a single pitch - D - and utilized strong pizzicatos, interrupting string snaps, and repeated motives.

Feast of Music

 Was hätte wohl Johann Sebastian Bach gesagt, wenn er, in unserer Zeit lebend, sich die Partituren von Reiko Füting oder Nicolaus A. Huber angeschaut hätte? Sicherlich wäre er über die Behandlung des Violoncellos erstaunt gewesen, die er doch zu seiner Zeit in seinen Solo-Suiten zu so großer Meisterschaft gebracht hat. Doch er hätte auch viele Korrespondenzen entdeckt. Diese auf mehreren Ebenen der Stücke nachweisbaren Nachbarschaften sind die “Spurenelemente”, auf denen der Cellist Matthias Lorenz sein Konzert-Konzept “Bach.heute” aufbaut. … Reiko Fütings “re-fraction: shadows” wirkte in sich durch ein reduziertes, kräftig wirkendes Tonmaterial sehr geschlossen, dennoch entstand der Bezug zum Thema durch eine Übermalungstechnik, die der ersten Klangerscheinung einen weiteren Satz, dann sogar weitere Stücke und Instrumente hinzufügte.

Mehr Licht

ENSEMBLE (More than 5 Players)

Weg, Lied der Schwäne

Oerknal!’s best piece came from Reiko Füting, Weg, Lied der Schwäne, constructed after a madgrigal by Arcadelt. This non-ironic beauty of the 16th century, imbedded in contemporary sounds and montage-techniques, shimmers differently, but undiminished.)


red wall/palimpsest

With its obstinate tutti attacks and quick echoes, Fueting’s strange work brings to mind the premature flattening of rippling concentric circles in water.

Sequenza 21

Vocal With Piano

“…gesammeltes Schweigen”

Das (betraf) ebenso wie die beiden Zyklen von Reiko Füting (“…gesammeltes Schweigen”) und Benjamin Schweitzer (“Kesä ja talvi”), in welchen sich beide Komponisten – ebenfalls mit “Jahreszeiten”-Hintergrund von verschiedenen Dichtern – auf einer eher intellektuellen, fast meditativ zu nennenden Ebene auf der Suche nach dem richtigen Ausdruck, nach den Klängen hinter der Sprache begeben.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Vocal with Instruments/Ensemble

mo(nu)ment for C

Füting’s mo(nu)ment for C, written as a memorial for victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting, opens with hushed, shuddering pulsations of breath and fricatives, at first intermittently colored by single pitches and gradually developing into a tangle of pitched oscillations. Text (“Je suis”– “I am”–“Ich bin”) is never more than faintly discernible, and the “mechanical” influence of Ligeti never seems far off: the theatrical clockwork of wiped-over syllables evokes a fretful, sometimes rancorous Ligetian spirit as much as the pensive solidarity implicit in the work’s text.

I Care If You Listen

land of silence: waves – bridges

Finally, land of silence by Reiko Fueting, explores bits of material, rotating them against a backdrop of sucking, hissing, plosive sounds. This is the most successful piece on the latter part of the recording, with its sonic ingenuity and closing baritone solo. That solo descends slowly in range and its traditional singing is spiked with a variety of mouth sounds. This is intriguing, progressive writing for the voice fulfills the apparent aim of loadbang: to be new, confident, and weird.

I Care If You Listen

Reiko Füting’s Land of Silence dug into the pure sonic possibilities of the ensemble. Though text-based, using a poem by Kathleen Furthmann, Land of Silence had its strongest effect with voice and instruments circling around a single pitch, playing with dynamics, attacks, teasing and poking at the note as if it were a fascinating and possibly dangerous object, then using that process to gradually unfold the poem. It was something like the scene in 2001 when the primates are circling the obelisk.

New York Classical Review

Reiko Füting’s Land of Silence sets words by the German poet Kathleen Furthmann; these are highly fragmented, yet the music retains the feel of a song.  As well as being given to the voice, phonemes of Fruthmann’s text are spoken into the instruments, extending and transforming them into a whole new range of sounds.  Although its focus on a single sustained pitch to generate a range of gestures could feel ponderous, the work is equally full of quick flicks to either side, neat ijections of new or foreign material, which continually give in it the capacity of surprise.

Cambridge Core

“über zwischen-welten”

Das rätselhafteste und schwierigste Stück des Programms stammt von Reiko Füting, der 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen geboren wurde und jetzt in den USA lebt. “über zwischen-welten” mit seinen vier im Raum verteilten Schlagzeuggruppen beschreibt der Komponist als Palimpsest mit sechs Schichten.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

“…weil sie in den Gedichten steht”

Reiko Fütings Komposition nach einem Gedicht von Georg Trakl “…weil sie in den Gedichten steht” in der Fassung für Bariton und Violoncello schließlich war der gelungenen Versuch, der außergewöhnlichen Sprachgewalt des deutschen Expressionisten mit möglichst sparsamen, aber adäquaten musikalischen Mitteln bezukommen.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Reiko Fütings “…weil sie in den Gedichten steht”, nach einem Gedicht von Georg Trakl, mutete ebenso jugendlich an wie die Trommelorgie des wilden Würzburgers. In diesem Dresdner Beitrag drückte sich jedoch eine in die Interessantheit der eigenen Gefühle verstrickte Jugend aus--nichts anderes als ein expressionistisches Gedicht konnte hierfür gewählt werden.

Chorus/Vocal Ensemble A Cappella

flehen – fliehen

An diese Schütz-Motette lehnte sich auch Reiko Fütings (*1970) Komposiiton “flehen – fliehen” an, ein höchst komplexes Werk.  Der dreigeteilte Chor faser die Motette auf, verflicht sie mit korresponierenden Worten von Kathleen Furthmann – Laute, Klangfetzen, musikalische Trennungen und Zusammenführungen.  Gleichsam als Gegenpol wirft ein Sprecher (sehr prägnant Cornelius Uhle) fragmentarische Textzeilen von Michael Grossmann ein, die vor allem das Elend der Kinder unter vergangenen und gegenwärtigen Leidenssituationen behandel.  Letztlich mündet das Ganze in dem Hoffnung spendenden Titel der Schütz-Motette.  Die Wiedergabe selbst wirkte spannend und ausgefeilt bis ins Detail.  Die bei diesem Ensemble besonders hervorstechnde Eigenschaft, auf die Partner zu hören und das jeweilige Werk als chorisches Gesamtereignis zu verstehen, fiel besonder ins Gewicht.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

“der töne licht”

Faszinierend war es zu hören, wie sich Fütings Komposition “der töne licht” in das “Abendständchen” unmerklich einschlich, einige Passagen seltsam sich zerdehnten und die romantischen Harmonien sich dann zerlegten, um bald in vier Ebenen gegen- und übereinandergeschichtet neue tonale Bedeutung zu generieren.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

weht – umweht

Den ersten Preis, zur Verfügung gestellt von der Stiftung für Kunst & Kultur der Stadtsparkasse Dresden, erhielt der in Königs Wusterhausen geborene Reiko Füting, ehemals Absolvent der Dresdner Musikhochschule. Er verbindet in “weht – umweht” die Motette “Ach weh des leiden” von Hans Leo Haßler mit seiner Komposition auf eine Paraphrase zu Haßlers Text von Kathleen Furthmann. So erzeugt er, unter Beibehaltung der geteilten Chores, ein zartes, fast melancholisches Stimmengeflecht, das nach lang ausgedehntem Pianissimo schließlich verlischt.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Der erste Preis wurde an Reiko Füting, Jahrgang 1970, vergeben, der in Deutschland und den USA lebt.  Er hat für “weht – umweht” einen Text Kathleen Furthmanns gewählt und ihn in viel leise Musik gekleidet.  Dynamisches Raffinement lässt den Klang im Raum quasi pendeln.  Auch Füting verzichtet auf musikalische Kontinuität, fasst aber gedanklich Zusammengehöriges auch in der Komposition zusammen.

Sächsische Zeitung

“silently wanders”

Ein intensives Stück, das musikalisch den Bogen von seriellem Denken zu Unvorhersehbarem zu spannen vermochte und das den Bogen zwischen abendländischer und fernöstlicher Haltung zu spannen versuchte.

Dresdner Zentrum für zeitgenössische Musik

Sandwiched between Bach’s mysterious Cantata No. 131 and Bruckner’s triumphant Te Deum, the group gave a captivating premiere of Reiko Füting’s “silently wanders”/extensio for choir, mezzo-soprano, organ, and solo cello. Conductor Nicholas DeMaison navigated the ensemble through the spacious score, one that alternated meditative organ solos with choral movements that were both reflective and stuttering. Comprising texts of E.E. Cummings and Reiner Bonack, Füting’s settings made brilliant use of stammered consonants - often displacing the first or last sound from their respective word, akin to Cummings’ own use of avant-garde letter spacing and lack of punctuation. Mezzo soloist Nani Füting traversed the wide-ranging solo, diverse in its use of both sweeping and dramatic melodies, as well as Pierrot Lunaire-esque points of speech-song. Here, too, the displaced consonant added an incredible sense of text painting, with the final “t” of the German “Zeit (time)” transforming into a ticking clock that gradually faded into the hushed return of the pipe organ. To hear a work like Füting’s in the midst of staples like Bach and Bruckner is to realize that the human voice’s most thrilling counterpart is actually the consolatory hum of reverent silence.

Feast of Music

Chorus/Vocal Ensemble with Instruments

“in allem frieden”

Dass Heinrich Schütz auch in der Musik der Gegenwart rezipiert und reflektiert wird, zeigte ein Konzert mit den Ensembles AuditivVokal Dresden und L'Art d'Echo unter Leitung von Olaf Katzer. Im Mittelpunkt des Abends standen zwei neue Werke von Reiko Füting, der in Dresden studiert hat und heute als mehrfach preisgekrönter Komponist in New York lebt und arbeitet. Die Besetzung spannend: ein zehnköpfiges Sängerensemble, dazu ein fünfköpfiges Gambenconsort und ein Schlagwerkensemble, rund ums Publikum gruppiert. Die Titel der Kompositionen: „als ein licht“ und „in allem frieden“. Als Inspirationsquelle dienten Reiko Füting Vokalkompositionen von Heinrich Schütz. Die Verarbeitung des historischen Materials erfolgt in den Werken stringent und organisch – so die Meinung von Olaf Katzer, dem Dirigenten des Abends. „Man hat quasi den Eindruck, dass es ein Gewebe ergibt und der Schütz in Füting eingewoben ist, wie ein Netz, wie ein Teppich.“

Reiko Fütings Musik könnte man als ein modernes Gebet um Frieden beschreiben. Ihre Wirkung war enorm, auch aufgrund des ungewöhnlichen Aufführungsorts im Militärhistorischen Museum Dresden – in einer Halle mit rund zehn ausrangierten Panzerfahrzeugen, in der der noch immer der Geruch von Kettenöl in der Luft liegt.

– Deutschlandradio Kultur

„Wie lang ist die Nachhallzeit einer Panzerhalle? Bis jetzt immerhin 11 Tage. Plus X. Was ein Ensemble AUDITIVVOKAL und ein weiteres „Art d ́Echo“ zusammen mit vier unerschrockenen Schlagwerkern unter der inspirierenden, behutsamen Leitung von Olaf Katzer in ein Militärmuseum getragen haben, ist hinaus geflogen in alle Gegenden, in denen die Zuhörer des Konzertes am 11. Oktober 18 wohnen. Und sehr wahrscheinlich bleiben die magischen Klänge dieses Abends immer noch dort. Anders ist es nicht denkbar, so überbordend verhielt sich die Musik von Heinrich Schütz, seinen Zeitgenossen Heinrich Albert und Malachias Siebenhaar im Gleichflug mit der Komposition von Reiko Füting im Depot des MHM Dresden. Keine Frage, sie werden bleiben, schon, um der massierten Dumpfheit der Eisenmaschinen etwas Sinngewaltiges entgegenzusetzen. Aber sie fliegen auch aus, denn sie sind in der Lage, Nester zu bauen in den Köpfen der Zuhörer. So zaubern sie Wohngemeinschaften in Menschen, die Musik lieben, zum Leben brauchen, die so genial Musizierende verehren und sie am liebsten auf Händen trügen. Den Veranstaltern wie den Ausführenden sei Dank für das Wagnis, diesen Gegensatz – Waffen \ Musik – zu inszenieren und auszuhalten. Wie selten ist es Aufgabe eines Soprans, sich über Geschützrohre hinweg zu erheben? Wann bekommt die tiefe Abteilung der Sänger den Auftrag, den verlorenen Boden unter den Höllenmaschinen zu singen?

Eins hat dieser Abend in Gänze bewiesen: Es lohnt, Undenkbares zu denken, Ungehörtes hörbar zu machen und kleine Feuer zu legen, wo gar kein brennbares Material vorhanden ist.

Selten dürfte es Heinrich Schütz so gut gegangen sein wie hier, an diesem Abend, im Militärhistorischen Museum Dresden. Und hoffentlich noch oft werden wir diese wunderbare Nachbarschaft von früherer Musik mit der heute erdachten erleben können.“

– Christina Maria Ruby

Das Sächsische Vocalensemble unter der Leitung von Matthias Jung verband in seinem Konzert “Da pacem, Domine” Motetten von Heinrich Schütz mit Kompositionen von Reiko Füting (geb. 1970) nach Texten von Kathleen Furthmann. Fütings “als ein licht/extension” (2011) und das uraufgeführte “in allem frieden” antworteten auf die Motetten von Schütz und waren auch intensiv damit verbunden. Die Texte verarbeitete Füting quasi mehrspuring, ließ Fragmente der Schütz-Motetten mit einfließen, expressive Klangflächen, Sprache und Geräusche korrespondierten mit Schlagwerk und Gambenkonsort.

– Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Christina Siegfried, die künstlerische Leiterin, hat in diesem Jahr erstmals auch ein Auftragswerk an Reiko Füting vergeben, der sich nach einem Text von Kathleen Furthmann, “in allem frieden”, mit gemischtem Chor, Gamben und Schlagzeug auf die Spuren von Schütz begab. Doch was das Sächsische Vocalensemble unter Matthias Jung bei der Uraufführung in der Kirche von Drsden-Loschwitz hören ließ, machte den Eindruck zartfühlender Unentschiedenheit. An die Stelle der verbindlich-klaren Bezüge, die Schütz zwischen Musik und Sprache herzustellen wusste, ist hier der Rückzug in stille Unbelangbarkeit getreten.

– Frankfuert Allgemeine Zeitung

“…als ein licht”/extensio

Die Apokalypse verkündend, begannen vier Schlagzeuger mit erschreckenden Schlagballungen Reiko Fütings Komposition “…als ein licht” nach Texten von Kathleen Furthmann. Daraus stieg in vielen Schattierungen das Flehen des gemischten Chores nach Frieden hervor, geflüstert, in Klangfetzen, bruchstückhaft, sich aus einem Klangteppich herausschälend. Immer ist Heinrich Schütz ergreifenden Motette “Verleih uns Frieden genädiglich” aus seiner 1648 erschienenen Geistlichen Chormusik gegenwärtig, als Zitat oder auch im Gestus. Die Präzision, mit der die Meißner Kantorei 1961 zu Werke ging, ihre und der bewährten Solistin Gerturd Günther immense Gestaltungskraft, zogen alle in den Bann. Am Ende erklang die Schütz-Motette rein und klar und schnörkellos aus allen Ecken des Kirchenschiffs – ein berührendes Erlebnis.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

“als aus nacht himmel wurde”

So entstand auf zurückhaltende Weise eine besondere Atmosphäre. Zuerst von aufrüttelnden Posaunenrufen im Dialog mit dem Chor geprägt, lichteten sich die herben Tontrauben im zweiten Teil. Sie wurden vom freundlicheren Klang einer Flöte begleitet. In stillem Verhalten, wie beim Ticken der Zeituhr, klang das Werk allmählich aus. Trotzdem wirkte das Werk auch dank der beeindruckend differenzierten Klanglichkeit des Chores auf eigene Weise nach.

Sächsische Zeitung

Chorus With Orchestra

“…wie wir klar werden”

Als zeitgenössischer Kommentar (Text: Carola Moosbach) stand hier als zweite Uraufführung des Konzertes “…wie wir klar werden” von Reiko Füting (geb. 1970). Füting setzt die Musik in völligem Kontrast zum lichten, inhaltlich linearen Text, indem er extreme dynamische Gegenbewegung erzeugt. Nur einzelne Phrasen, Worte, kurze Abschnitte klingen im eigentlichen Sinn, viele Teile wirken in Geräuschen und verfremdeten Silben fast zerrissen. Der Titelvers steht schließlich als Sopransolo (Gertrud Günther) mit wiederholten Worten ganz allein, und selbst ein scheinbar versöhnlicher Epilog der hohen Streicher (erstaunliche Farben entstehen, wenn zeitgenössische Musik auf “alten” Instrumenten erklingt) entschwindet in einem ausgehaltenen Geigenton wie ein Verlöschen.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

höhen – stufen

Die Singakademie wird sich dem Meisterwerk (Bach’s h-Moll Messe) in drei Teilen bis 2013 im jeweiligen “Adventsstern” zuwenden und stellt Bach jeweils eine “Re-Aktion” eines zeitgenössischen Komponisten zur Seite. Am Sonntag war dies der in Amerika und Deutschland wirkende Komponist Reiko Füting, dem mit “höhen – stufen” eine reizvolle kontemplative Betrachtung von Sprache und Zeit gelang. Spannend war zu beobachten, wie sich die Verzahnung von Harmonik und Zeitfluss in Fütings Werk zu Bach verhielt. Beide Komponisten arbeiten in klar wahrzunehmender strenger Strukturierung, und es wird jeweils eine Gesamtidee deutlich, die die Thematik beleuchtet, aber nicht einengt. Die Idee von himmlischen und irdischen Stimmen wird hier kompositorisch sehr plastisch ausgeformt und stellt somit auch einen Bezug zur Messe im theologischen Sinne her.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Den Reigen eröffnete Reiko Füting. Er hat seine Komposition “höhen – stufen” noch einmal grundlegend überarbeitet. Sie bezieht sich vermutlich auf das “Gloria” der Messe. Allerdings waren die Texte nur in extrem verfremdenden Fraktionierungen zu hören, Assoziationen erforderten viel guten Willen. Text und Music bewegten sich auf einem ins Extrem getriebenen Abstraktionsgrad. Der Interpretationsspielraum war groß, geradezu beliebig.

Sächsische Zeitung

Compositions for Music Theater


The music–composed by PATH’s composers James Diaz, Peter Kramer, Longfei Li, Yangzhi Ma, and Meng Wang, along with guest composer Reiko Füting–sets a rather ominous tone: Technology, should we be scared? Despite the fact that Simulacrum is five scenes, a prologue, and an epilogue written in distinct parts by these six different composers, the sound world is similar from one section to the next. The tendency to hover around single pitches or small pitch clusters permeates the entire work, as do the various rhythmic and timbral techniques used to create variety and texture within this harmonic paradigm. The resulting mood is one of mystery, creating a world that is sometimes sinister and other times introspective and hopeful. To many listeners, it could seem that the opera was written by a single composer; to more locally-trained ears, the similarities ring with the influence of composer and professor Reiko Füting.

I Care if You Listen

Path New Music describes itself as an upstart artist collective of composures, musicians, choreographers, and visual artists. Five Path members, Longfei Li, Yangzhi Ma, Peter Kramer, Meng Wang and James Diaz jointly composed the evocative score. Reiko Futing, billed in press material as musical supervisor and guest composer, wrote an alluring and atmospheric prelude. The taut, non-linear libretto by Marianna Staroselsky, based on her play, would be fascinating as spoken word without music and holds the opera together.


Compositions for Dance

mo(ve)ment for 2: Choreophonie – Schatten/Spiegeltanz –

The evening opened with Miro Magloire's Schattentanz (“shadow dance”), receiving its world premiere performances this weekend. It's set to a commissioned score by Reiko Fueting, who was present and took a bow after the ballet had been presented.

Clad in Sarah Thea's body tights of grey-blue-pale rose abstractions, dancers Kristy Butler, Traci Finch, and Amber Neff are first seen prone on the floor. My first impression was of alien creatures feeding on some unknown substance; but what beautiful creatures they turn out to be.

An itchy passage from Doori Na's violin sets the complex, brilliantly inventive Fueting score on its way; meanwhile, Melody Fader must periodically reach inside the piano to manipulate the strings. The three dancers have now risen, and they huddle while executing twisty moves. Later they engage in finger-snapping and then in foot-stamping offset by quirky port de bras. The musicians occasionally fall silent as the dancers continue to move.

A stuttering violin motif emerges. In wide 2nd position, the three dancers flutter their hands; then they begin racing about the space. Joining hands, Traci leads them on a merry chase as Doori's violin snakes up and down scales, creating the effect of a fire siren. From the piano, Melody joins in the scaling expedition.
 Kristy Butler circles the space as if pursued, then all three dancers collapse to the floor. Doori's violin takes up an eerie pinging passage, withdrawing to hushed pianissimo. The piano sounds deeply, the dancers begin to stir ever so slightly; then the music fades to nothingness.

Oberon’s Grove


Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging

Obwohl die ganze CD einen eher besinnlichen Tonfall anschlägt, wirkt das knapp einstündige Programm keinesfalls langweilig, denn die Stücke sind so gruppiert, dass sie dem Hörer immer wieder reizvolle Farbwechsel bescheren. Der Satz von “Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging” beginnt etwa nur mit Männerstimmen - und gibt dem Stück eine angenehm dunkle Grundierung.

NDR Kultur Feuilleton

Ob nun im harmonisch komplexen “Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging”, oder im überraschend swingenden “Kommet ihr Hirten” - die sechs Vokalisten von Singer Pur sorgen für pure Freude beim Zuhören.

NDR Kultur

Etliche der durchweg ambitionierten Sätze protzen nicht vordergründig mit der Zurschaustellung der stimmtechnischen oder harmonischen Herausforderungen. So ist eine Reihe von echten Schmuckstücken entstanden, etwa die Versionen des zerbrechlichen und harmonisch interessanten “Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging”.

Mit viel Fingerspitzengefühl wurden einige der Lieder von Komponisten wie Reiko Füting neu belebt und gewissermaßen Singer Pur auf den Leib geschrieben.

In der Volksweise “Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” fand diese vorsichtige Erneuerung einen sanglichen und emotionalen Höhepunkt, imstande den Zuhörern das Wasser in die Augen zu treiben.

Gäuboden Aktuell Straubing

Es geht ein’ dunkle Wolk’ herein

Zu den stärksten Stücken zählen Heike Beckmanns rumbabewegte Brahms-Adaption “Guten Abend, gut’ Nacht”, das archaisch-düstere “Es geht eine dunkle Wolk herein” von Reiko Füting.

(onoForum: Singer Pur “Save Our Songs”)

Ungewöhnlich modern dagegen “Es geht ein kunkle Wolk herein”. Reiko Füting, ein ehemaliges Mitglied der Weimarer Hofsänger, hatte kunstvoll Musik und Text der Strophen ineinander verwoben. Der gleiche Musiker arrangierte den Gassenhauer “Heidenröslein”. Grandios die Ironisierung des Volksliedes durch Einfügen von passenden Opernarien. Es durfte gelacht werden.

Ergreifend im Kanon auch das von Reiko Füting gesetzte “Es geht ein dunkle Wolk herein” und Eric Whitacres geheimnisvolles Nachtstück “Waternight”.

Heilbronner Stimme

Three American Folk Songs

Die Arrangements stammed zu einem großen Teil von Komponisten, die mit dem Chor über 60 Jahr verbunden sind, wie Rolf Lukowsky und Gunther Erdmann. Oder von ehemaligen Sängern wie Reiko Füting, der seit 2005 eine Professur für Musiktheorie und Komposition in New York inne hat. Favoriten? Die titelgebende amerikanische Weihnachtshymne “How Can I Keep from Singing?”.


Füting, aside from being a formidable accompanist, is also a refined composer: witness his sensitive tone painting in “Cold Blows the Wind”.


Füting has taken Berio’s folksongs as his own model and there’s a terse piano commentary in Molly Bann and an appropriately spare I Wonder As I Wander.

MusicWeb International

Fünf Internationale Volkslieder

So gerieten das filigrane Linienspiel in Reiko Fütings “Internationalen Volksliedern” und die Sekundreibungen im linearen Klanggeflecht sehr plastisch und schwingend. Fütings stilistische Beweglichkeit bereichert die Frauenchorliteratur um ein anspruchsvolles Werk.


O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf

Und Reiko Füting lässt den Chor in “O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf” vom verhauchenden Tenorsolo bis zum massiven Tuttiklang die Himmelsbewegung im Wechsel von Beinahe-Stillstand und bewegter Rhythmik dynamisch nachzeichnen.

Matthias Mader

Das Heidenröslein

Ein Kabinettstück “Das Heidenzauber-Röslein”, arrangiert für die Hofsänger von Reiko Füting, in dem neben dem Goethetext allerlei Witziges eingewebt war. Das “Heidenzauber-Röslein” hatte seine Überschrift nicht umsonst. “Es geht eine dunkle Wölk herein” darf nicht unerwähnt bleiben wegen des reichen Arrangements.


Stets auf Durchsichtigkeit bedacht, verlieh er jeder Variation einen eigenen klangspezifischen Ausdruck.

Magdeburger Volksstimme


Reviews of Performances

Als Begleiter war Reiko Füting, der am Seminar als Pianist teilnahm, für die Sängerinnen und Sänger ein feinfühliger Partner.

– Wörgler Rundschau

Reiko Fütings pianistisches Auftreten vermeidet jedes äußerlich auftrumphende Virtuosentum, selbst da, wo es sich beinahe aufdrängt. Er spielt präzise, trocken, dabei aber nicht unsensibel und durchaus brilliant: ein Interpret, der seine feinen Fähigkeiten konsequent in den Dienst der Komponisten stellt und sich damit als überzeugender Vermittler von (neuer) Musik erweist.”

– Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Reiko Füting regte Benefizkonzert an: Ein einzigartiger Liederabend

– Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung

Beide (Matthias Vieweg und Reiko Füting) hatten ein interessantes Programm zusammengestellt. Das reichte vom 19. Jahrhundert mit Liedern von Franz Schubert und Robert Schumann über das 20. Jahrhundert mit Richard Strauss bis in diese Tage. Da waren “Die Jahreszeiten” nach Hölderlin, der der Amerikaner Nils Vigeland eigens für die deutschen Freunde komponiert hat, sowie eine eigene Komposition Fütings.

– Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung

Wenn sich dann zwei so versierte Musiker wie Matthias Vieweg (Bariton) und der in Dresden ausgebildete, jetzt in New York lebende Komponist Reiko Füting (Klavier) dieser Kompositionen annehmen, ist ein qualitativ hochwertiger Konzertabend garantiert. Schön war auch das Gefühl, sich im Piano-Salon einmal ganz den Werken hinzugeben – die konzentrierte Lesart der beiden Musiker übertrug sich in den Saal und förderte ein intensives Zuhören.

– Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Die Verleihung des Förderpreises durch den Vorsitzenden des Sächsischen Musikbunds Andreas Ebert wurde ergänzt durch drei Kompositionen Lydia Weißgerbers, die einfühlsam und engagiert von Reiko Füting (Klavier), Uta-Maria Lempert (Violine), Matthias Lorenz (Violoncello) und ein Ensemble Dresdner Studenten unter Leitung von Lennart Dohms-Winkel interpretiert wurden.

– Neue Musik Zeitung

Daisy Press, a soprano, supported by Reiko Füting at the piano, sang the “Five Songs from Stefan George’s ‘Der Siebente Ring’ ” (Op. 3) with a calm naturalness that suited the style. The Webern performances were finely polished.

– The New York Times

Reiko Füting’s accompaniments are as simple and eloquent as they need to be, and show the pianists’ resourcefullness, when it is required.

– Fanfare

Payne and Füting are fine ambassadors for this ‘new’ music and have clearly established a first-class ensemble; fortunately they’ve been well recorded into the bargain.

– MusicWeb International

Der Heimatverein Niederlehme e.V. lud am 26. Juni zu seinem 4. Musikabend “Musikalische Geschichten” ein. Trotz der vielen Veranstaltungen in der näheren und weiteren Umgebung find sich zahlreich ein sehr interessiertes Publikum ein. Der Pianist Herr Professor Dr. Reiko Füting überraschte mit dem feinsinnigen Vergleich der Handschrift unterschiedlicher Komponisten, Kompositionen und ihrer Ausdrucksweise von Johann Sebastian Bach über Robert Schumann, Pjotr Illitsch Tschaikowski u.a.m. bis hin zu Max Reger, Béla Bartók und Dave Brubeck. Eine besondere Überraschung für alle Anwesenden gelang ihm mit den von seiner Frau als Zugabe vorgetragenen Liedern. Mit diesem besonderen Ohren- und Augenschmaus am Schluss der Veranstaltung begeisterte er sein Publikum. Mit dieser überdurchschnittlichen hohen künstlerischen Gesamtdarbietung wurden beide Vortragenden mit einem Standing Ovation und ein persönliches extra Dankeschön von begeisterten ZuhörerInnen verabschiedet. Die Darbeitung war eine echte Bereicherung des Kulturlebens in Niederlehme und ein kleines Geschenk an seine Heimatstadt.

– Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung