Anna Friederike Potengowski & Georg Wieland

The Edge of Time


THE DEAD hand of Brexit reaches back 40,000 years to stymie any chance of the continuation of the European Music Archaeology Project – funded by the EU Cultural programme – which has involved piper Barnaby Brown and ancient war-horn wielder John Kenny, and Edinburgh's Delphian. After releases of early music of the Scottish Highlands, Viking sea-shanties and the Celtic carnyx and its relatives, here a German duo of flautist and percussionist explore the likely sound of the oldest evidence of musical creation anywhere in the world – flutes made from the bones of birds and animals by very early Paleolithic people living in the Upper Danube and Pyrenees.

Speculative these compositions and improvisations may be, but the haunting sound the pair produced on reconstructions of the flutes with elemental rhythm accompaniment is not only credible but absorbing. This is as far back as the period instrument movement can possibly go, but the link with contemporary music is maintained in the inclusion of John Cage's Ryoanji for wind instruments, which was inspired by a visit to a Japanese garden. Here is the world in all its breadth and depth: next month's final volume in the series includes a new work by Sir James MacMillan.

Keith Bruce