If you were worried that contemporary classical might have lost some of its freakier avant-garde edges to recently dominant trends of retro-romanticism, fear not. Romanian composer Horatiu Radulescu is holding up the alternate universe just fine, thank you very much, with compositions such as a string quartet entitled "Infinite To Be Cannot Be Infinite, Infinite Anti-Be Could Be Infinite" and the "Byzantine Prayer" (which requires 40 flautists playing 72 flutes). He is not, suffice it to say, one who suffers from the ideology that music is best at its most unchallenging. Despite the philosophical innocuousness of their title, the "Lao Tzu Sonatas" are exercises in anything but Taoist simplicity. Densely technical and based in esoteric tonal theories, these three pieces are highly intelligent and extremely daring; due to pianist Ortwin StŸrmer's amazing two-handed dexterity, they're also incredibly engaging. When music this revolutionary is this agreeable, there's no reason to be afraid.
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