San Francisco-based violist and composer
Nils Bultmann first documented both his innovative style at the instrument
and his original fusion of composition and improvisation on
Forgiveness (2003), including his Solo Sonata for Viola and
duets with Noah Onstrud on didgeredoo and Andy Ewen on electric guitar.
Terminally Unique (Mutable, 2008) delivers 14 short computer-manipulated
compositions/ improvisations. The viola solos are very brief meditations that
harken back to classical music but stress the timbres and the tempos to the
limit (notably Again, The Pulsing and Primal).
The Madness is a more complex seven-minute sonata for
Bultmann's viola, Roscoe Mitchell's tenor saxophone, Parry Karp's cello and
Paddy Cassidy's djembe. The strings alternate between orgasmic crescendoes
fueled by their own symbiosis and Platonic stases sustained by the brittle percussion sounds.
A simple duet between piano and Parry Karp's cello,
Marched Upward, manages to achieve a menacing symphonic density.
The galactic tide of Ocean is perhaps the most disconcerting piece,
a sort of Strauss' Zarathustra for a parallel universe.
One can only regret that the pieces are so short to barely hint at what Bultmann
has in mind.
Bultmann has also composed chamber music for solo instruments, string quartets
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