Lars Fredriksson
Ting Qiu - Listening to Autumn

[Country and Eastern, www.countryandeastern.se]

  With so few recordings that feature sounds of insects, "Ting Qiu" deserves our undivided attention. Composer/conductor Lars Fredriksson [aka Mr. Fung Liao] has studied in great detail life of the crickets since the late 70's. Having spent many years in China, he has bred crickets and organized actual live performances that featured them in lead starring roles. Considering the lifespan of a cricket is just under a year, new crickets would have to be collected and trained each year for Fredriksson's orchestras. In the liner notes to this CD, Fredriksson gives some pertinent facts about his orchestra members, "Crickets produce sound by rubbing their jagged wing covers, called tegmina, each with a sound-producing membrane, together. This rubbing, called stridulation, goes on for hours, and is only interrupted when the cricket is startled or changes its position in order to be heard better. The cricket's tympanic organs can vibrate with up to 20,000 cycles per second, well beyond the sensitivity of the human ear, and recent research has also shown that even the fluid in the veins of the wings has an amplifying capacity." He goes on to point out that only the male crickets produce sounds to attract females, in order to procreate. Each species of crickets has its own, unique song. According to the composer, for this CD he chose groups of crickets that when singing in unison would produce tone interference and would have complex rhythms. Sounds would seem to go in and out of synchronization. Fredriksson learned how to tune his crickets by deciding on what they were fed, by controlling the ambient temperature, and by varying the groups of crickets that were placed in the same proximity. Resulting music is mesmerizing, as one hears the crickets in a variety of settings. They're playing their songs in a subtle, drill-like fashion on "Invocation", which then sees them be joined by another variety of crickets that adds variations on tone. "Glowing Dusk" features the crickets singing in perfect harmony, though a few voices often fall in and out of sync. The album ends with a three-part "Parting" suite, where one hears the crickets' voices to be more distant; more sparse. This is one of those CDs that I can leave playing for hours on end and not be bored once. Each time around, new delicate subtleties appear out of nowhere. To be used as stress relief on a pressure-filled day, "Ting Qiu" is one of the most haunting, most nature intensive albums I've heard in a long time. Essential.

  - Tom Sekowski


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>> Lars Fredriksson - Ting Qiu - Listening to Autumn
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