Reiko Füting: Broken Song

, composer


Reiko Füting's newest release Broken Song alternates choral settings of poetry by his long term collaborator Kathleen Furthmann with a solo piano performance of his introspective work, Five Meditations on Music from Luigi Rossi’s Collection, by pianist Jing Yang. Füting frequently uses quotation and references to early music as a jumping off point in his work. The choral works are sung by Vocalconsort labia vocalia, conducted by Füting himself.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Performer(s) Time
Total Time 69:43
01weht – umweht
weht – umweht
Vocalconsort labia vocalia, Reiko Füting, conductor10:26
02...broken song
...broken song
Jing Yang, piano15:30
03“und wo Du bist”
“und wo Du bist”
Vocalconsort labia vocalia, Reiko Füting, conductor11:58

Five Meditations on Music from Luigi Rossi’s Collection

Jing Yang, piano
04Meditation 1: Öffnen des Raumes (Partite sopra Zefiro)
Meditation 1: Öffnen des Raumes (Partite sopra Zefiro)
Jing Yang, piano6:42
05Meditation 2
Meditation 2
Jing Yang, piano3:54
06Meditation 3
Meditation 3
Jing Yang, piano3:22
07Meditation 4
Meditation 4
Jing Yang, piano2:20
08Meditation 5
Meditation 5
Jing Yang, piano7:03
09“in allen landen”
“in allen landen”
Vocalconsort labia vocalia, Reiko Füting, conductor8:28

Reiko Füting’s music establishes reverent spaces. There is a theme of quotation and reference to past repertoire that runs through his work; the canon serves as a point of departure that is grounded in a familiar approach to beauty. It is from this space that Füting explores, fragmenting and deconstructing materials to illuminate new corners in a rich sonic architecture. On Broken Song, we hear this approach through the lens of two contrasting, but equally intimate instrumentations, a capella choral music and solo piano works. The vocal works set texts by settings of poetry by his long term collaborator Kathleen Furthmann.

weht - umweht opens with three minutes of luminous contrapuntal music drawn from Hans Leo Hassler’s Ach weh des leiden. Füting then approaches the material with characteristic deconstruction, using register, extended vocal timbres, harmonic development, and repetition with variation to take fragments of the opening material into new, haunting terrain. As the piece closes, the phrases become increasingly truncated, eventually fading into an oscillating ascending major second and a closing minor chord that elides into a whisper.

The title track for solo piano is based on material from Canzon francese del Principe by Carlo Gesualdo. Füting establishes multiple layers of activity immediately with punctuated pizzicato and sustained harmonies. Brief shards of Gesualdo’s score emerge from the sparkling texture, interrupted by glitchy, angular bursts of texture. It is as if we are hearing repeated, gentle short-circuits of our musical memory. Other moments in the work are marked by repeated cells of material, like a skipping record player opening a brief wormhole in the fabric of time.

“...und wo Du bist” brings the listener immediately into Füting’s multi-layered compositional approach to voices. Non-pitched sounds expand the timbral boundaries of the texture and enhance and extend the text. The primary melodic lines rely heavily on large intervallic leaps, lending the piece a sense of verticality and expansiveness.

Five Meditations on Music from Luigi Rossi’s Collection borrows from the Italian Baroque composer as a basis for music that examines subtle transformations. In the first movement of the set, a cyclical harmonic progression is embellished with increasing density of contrasting textural materials. The second is set in minor, emphasizing ominous central pitches in harmonics and plucked notes on the strings of the piano. An insistent, repeated pitch that alternates between damped and naturally played anchors the third movement, eventually highlighting the overtone series contained within its fundamental. In the fourth movement, Füting manipulates figures from Rossi’s score, presenting them in rhythmic irregularity and unpredictable repetition. The final movement opens with two heroic chords followed by a resultant, sustained sonority that is carefully managed with the pedals and subtle removal of notes from the chord. The texture evolves in a similar fashion, with phrase iterations sounding progressively closer together.

“in allen landen” contains the album’s most jubilant material. Percolating rhythmic figures in extended vocal textures propel the music forward, with punctuated, high register proclamations sounding like train horns. The choir comes together with flowing counterpoint in a quotation from a chorale by Martin Behm, underscored by sustained pitches that remain in the choir, as if stuck in the air. The bright, horn-like punctuations return towards the end of the work, and it ends with an unsettling closely spaced interval in the middle register. It is a fitting close to the album, one in which Füting hears the present through the past, filtering its musical elements through a contemporary sensibility.

– Dan Lippel

Producer/Publisher: Reiko Füting (

Co-Producer: Carsten Gerth

Tracks 1, 9:
Recorded May 19, 2012 at Andreaskirche Berlin-Wannsee (
Recording Engineer: Sebastian Pank (

Track 2:
Recorded May 20, 2022 at Oktaven Audio (
Recording Engineer: Ryan Streber

Track 3:
Recorded June 14, 2009 at Peter-und-Paul-Kirche Groß Ammensleben (
Recording Engineer: Thomas Zieler (, Andreas Tatus

Tracks 4-8:
Recorded June 6, 2022 at Oktaven Audio (
Recording Engineer: Ryan Streber

Cover Image: Sean Curran (
Design: Marc Wolf (

Reiko Füting Portrait: Hojoon Kim (
Jing Yang Portrait: Alice Huang

Text Editor: Bradley Colten (
Post-Production Advisor: Daniel Lippel (

memoria: Marko Meissner (1968-2021)

Reiko Füting

Reiko Füting was born in 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen in the German Democratic Republic. Füting has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, ensembles, and orchestras, with a special interest in vocal ensembles and ensembles performing on period instruments. His compositions are primarily released on the New Focus Recordings label in New York City and exclusively published by Verlag Neue Musik Berlin.

Since 2000, Füting has taught composition and theory at Manhattan School of Music, where he currently serves as Dean of Academic Core and Head of Composition. He has also taught vocal accompanying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock and has served as a guest faculty and lecturer at universities and music conservatories throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Füting studied composition and piano at the Hochschule für Musik Dresden, Rice University in Houston, Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and Seoul National University. Some of his most influential teachers have been composers Jörg Herchet and Nils Vigeland, and pianist Winfried Apel.

“With my music, I aim to explore the psychological nature of memory, as it is projected onto the compositional device of musical quotation. By realizing this device in the entire musical spectrum of assimilation and dissimilation, integration, disintegration, and segregation, while moving freely between clear borders and gradual transitions, quotation and memory may function as a means to reflect upon contemporary artistic, cultural, social, and political phenomena.”

Vocalconsort labia vocalia

Vocalconsort labia vocalia was founded in the spring of 1991 by voice students from the Institute of Music at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany. Over the course of its existence, the ensemble realized numerous concert projects — primarily with music from the Middle Ages to the early Baroque.

A particular focus for the group has been rediscovered works that are related to the musical history of the city of Magdeburg. Numerous first performances of compositions by, among others, Magdeburg cantors of the 16th and 17th centuries and by the Magdeburg music director Johann Heinrich Rolle (1716-1786) bear witness to this commitment.

The ensemble, which has given successful performances at the Magdeburg Telemann Festival, the Telemann Sunday Music series, the “Magdeburgisches Concert” festival, the Johann Michael Bach Days in Gehren, and the Middle German Baroque Music Days, is primarily project focused since 2001 with a core of accomplished singers of early music. Over the last few years, the ensemble has also become increasingly committed to the performance of contemporary vocal music.

Jing Yang

Praised by New York Magazine as “ young but so accomplished...”, Jing Yang is recognized as a solo pianist, chamber musician, and ensemble player. After her New York City debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, Jing launched her career with a solo recital tour in North America and Europe, as well as recitals organized by the New York Times. In her homeland China, her concerts have brought her to major concert halls, universities, and important cultural/ art events throughout the years. She has appeared as a soloist with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Symphony, DePaul Symphony Orchestra in Chicago Symphony Orchestra Center, and New Juilliard Ensemble in Lincoln Center. In 2014, Jing performed as the soloist for the Opening Ceremony of Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

As a chamber musician Jing has performed extensively with vocalists and instrumentalists. Jing has also been a frequent advocate of contemporary music, working collaboratively with composers and new music ensembles. She performs chamber music for piano and erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument, with her father Yihe Yang.

Jing has won prizes at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition for Young Musicians, the Eastman International Piano Competition, the Beijing Piano Competition, the Chopin International Piano Competition in Taipei, and the St. Petersburg International Piano Competition.

Jing holds a bachelor's degree and a doctoral degree of musical arts from Manhattan School of Music. She received her master’s degree at The Juilliard School. Jing teaches at the Extension Division of Mason Gross School at Rutgers University and at the Manhattan School of Music’s Distance Learning Program. She also serves as staff pianist for the Zukerman Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music, as well as piano and chamber faculty for the Young Artist Program at National Arts Center in Ottawa, Canada.

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