Poul Ruders ALARM - A THRILLER FOR SOLO PERCUSSION (1983)
The extraordinary title is a typical example of Poul Ruder’s (b. 1949) peculiar and bizarre sense of humour - Ruders, together with Hans Abrahamsen and Bo Holten, being one of the most important names within new Danish music after the Nørgård-Holmgreen-Nørholm generation. Although Ruders is influenced by Holmgreen’s absurd simplicity, he takes up an original place in new Danish music to which he has conveyed humour and liveliness as well as theatre and virtuosity.
Quotations, ‘found objects’, play an important part in Ruders’ music, for instance in his chamber work MEDIEVAL VARIATIONS (1974), but the old material is being varied with adequate audacity and liveliness so as to yield new qualities, not unlike Peter Maxwell Davies’ ’music on music’.
ALARM is ‘a short shocker, a kind of film soundtrack without the pictures’, based on the horror in victor Hugo’s THE BELL RINGER OF NOTRE DAME. To produce the right atmosphere of uneasiness and nervousness Ruders uses, among other things, the Balinese cymbal-machine ‘ching-ching’ and the snore of the ‘didjeridoo’ from Australia.