Südwest Presse, Germany, November 27, 1999.

Portrait Produced in the Ermstal (Valley of Erms), published in Canada: "Without Fear"

Without Fear - Exploring (Breaking) New Ground

The Bad Urach based composer and pianist Rainer Bürck: prizes, new CD and millenium project

Concerts in Rio, radio broadcasts in Perth, gigs in Kansas City: for a long time Rainer Bürck from Bad Urach has been achieving an international reputation as a composer and pianist. His new CD "Without Fear" was published by the Canadian label "earsay" - one piece from it ("Flautando") was recently awarded prizes at competitions in Prague and Budapest.

Bad Urach. Everything went quickly. Two prizes at two renowned competitions of electroacoustic music. On November 21st Rainer Bürck received the news that his composition "Flautando" - a digitally processed study for flute solo - was awarded the first prize at the competition "Musica Nova 99" in Prague. "The decision of the jury is final", chairman Rudolf Ruzicka wrote.

And yesterday good news arrived for a second time, starting with the words "I am pleased to inform you". With the same piece, Bürck also managed to grab the second prize at the "Ear '99" competition in Budapest. "Congratulations", Judith Toth, director of the studio at the Hungarian Radio, signed, including three exclamation marks. Since a first prize was not awarded.

It is quite possible that Rainer Bürck will soon make a little trip to Eastern Europe, since he is expected to attend the prize awarding ceremonies in Budapest on December 5th and in Prague on December 10th.

As a pianist and composer Rainer Bürck has been a sought-after musician for many years by radio stations and important festivals for contemporary music. "Beyond the physical scope" was his first solo CD, which he approximately translated as "beyond playability". At that time he was concerned about expanding the sound world of instruments with the help of digital technology. With his recent solo CD "Without Fear" Bürck, who had studied piano, composition and electronic music in Stuttgart and Nürnberg, again pushes forward into the unknown.

For example in "Hommage a S... pour S...". This composition is based on a recording of Scarlatti's Sonata K 259, performed by Bürck's student Sarah Köster. The way Bürck treats this material could be described by the technical term "deconstruction". But one can also just listen to it and make an associative voyage of discovery: staccato rolls, flipping cadences, scattered and always new overboiling swathes of misty sound clouds. Pure Scarlatti actually, but re-thought and re-composed with the help of the computer, achieving a completely new and brilliant, dramatic, elaborate entity. Bürck has developed his own "designing software", including filtering, ring modulation, frequeny and time transformation and also including random operations.

Or "Des Ombres de la Nuit": a furious sound trip based on organ sounds, recorded late at night with the renowned organist Christoph Bossert in the Frauenkirche in Esslingen. Bürck features the queen of the instruments from all sorts of unusual viewpoints (in all sorts of unusual ways): sounds of wind, eerie clatter of the action, enormous hurricanes, diabolic glitters of the mixtures, creaky bass trumpets, sighing flute registers, blurring bell sounds. And the composition also evokes to a certain extent the eerie (uncanny) nightly atmosphere during the recording session in the church.

Finally, "Ohne Schrecken" - a meditative work of 13 minutes, processed texts by Peter Härtling ("Engelleben"), Khalil Gibran ("sons and daughters of life"), and Heraklit. Spherical choral passages, dream-like hovering vocal textures - a surrealist sound cosmos between world chaos and utopia (utopian dream).

No wonder that Bürck's CD has put up a good show in the charts of the Canadian radio (CFRC-FM Kingston): Between July and September "Without Fear" was constantly in the top 15, finally even number 2.

It is a pity, however, that Bürck's favourite project for Bad Urach is not going to happen: for the night of the millenium he had planned a huge sound installation - the town should be filled with sound from three positions - a very promising event for the millenium, quite good enough for the music town of Bad Urach. The town council had indeed discussed the project positively. But then time ran out, and the mammoth sound projection equipment planned by Bürck was booked out by other events.

from the Südwest Presse, November 27, 1999.