As per Neven Usumovic’s liners, “…it is very difficult to foresee what Mezei will do next: his jazz is genuinely inspired by the great achievements of modern classic music (Bartók, Lutoslawski) as well as by the original folk tradition”. Sivatag – which means “desert” in the composer’s idiom – is in itself a one-hour condensation of the numerous ideas inhabiting the mind of this fertile young man, another essential factor to be monitored in the progression of such a kind of art being the “dramaturgical” aspect of these scores – he’s in fact a regular contributor to theatrical performances, his sister Kinga herself an actress and stage manager.
The three movements are orchestrated for a tentet subdivided in pairings: flutes, clarinets, brass winds, strings and rhythm section (double bass and percussion). “Warszawa Sketch” is an ashen improvisation where the physical features of the instrumental mechanics stay at the forefront of the sonic picture; yet the piece terminates its existence with an awe-inspiring collective glissando, halfway through the declining of a mirage and the dying phase of human illusions. Vizfény (észak)” is a sombrely brooding slow walk across the innermost craters of contrapuntal transience, the Ensemble obeying to a logic of indistinct pre-demise feverishness which results as upsetting as the last tearful embrace between two lovers before a forced severance. “Sivatag” brings back Mezei’s typical superimposition of reflective-if-dissonant linear motions and harmonic enucleations, almost 34 minutes in which the scarcity of definite hierarchies debouches in a now inhospitable, now subdued kind of superior understanding, exalted by the utilization of severe-sounding thematic drafts accentuated by a slight measure of self-collected soloism.