MATTHIAS PINTSCHER (b.1971): Nemeton for Solo Percussion, Mar’eh for Violin and Ensemble, Verzeichnete Spur for Double Bass, 3 Cellos, Instruments and Live Electronics, Nur for Piano and Ensemble, Beyond (A System of Passing) for Solo Flute, Lieder und Schneebilder for Soprano and Piano, Sonic Eclipse for Trumpet, Horn and Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 11X057
Description: This is an exciting collection of a representative sample of the prolific composer-conductor's works, mostly concertante pieces with orchestra or large ensemble and all composed since the year 2000. Pintscher's idiom is unashamedly modern - apparent references to tonal harmony happen if the music goes that way at the time, though there is no sense of deliberately avoiding them either - but the music is remarkably accessible, given the caveat that to classically or romantically accustomed ears it falls firmly into the avant-garde category. The reasons for this paradoxical approachability - and for the fact that you are likely to return to the pieces for repeated listening, rather than saying "Well, that was interesting" and moving on, are several-fold. One is the works' impeccably structured dramaturgy, the ebb and flow of dynamics, timbres, interactions within the ensembles and with soloists, that chart as sure a dramatic arc as traditional symphonic structure - a most remarkable thing to behold. Then there is the exemplary clarity of texture, even in the most complex, extended-timbre (and in the case of Verzeichnete Spur, electronically expanded) passages; the adoption of Schönbergian Klangfarbenmelodie as a compositional principle has seldom been more thoroughly explored. And a paradoxical sense of familiarity; however unconventional, the soloists interact with the ensembles as virtuoso protagonists, just as in a Romantic concerto - just listen to the stunning solo toward the close of Verzeichnete Spur for a particularly fine example out of many here. The composer writes about his music in Romantically evocative terms, with titles to match; Mar'eh - which begins with a horn solo which can only be described as "Mahlerian", out of which the violin takes flight - means "face" or "vision", and the work’s transparent sonorities are the canvas on which the violin draws its endless fragile image. Nur - "Fire" or "Light" in Hebrew - is a 3-movement piano concerto in all but name, the coruscating flares of the solo part inciting flares and volcanic outbursts of extraordinary energy which burst through the sombre orchestral strata. Not all is sound and fury, though; passages of exceptional, crystalline delicacy abound in the outer movements, and the brief slow movement is a study in suspended stillness. The "eclipse" of Sonic Eclipse is a metaphor for the combination and mutual occultation - an event of cosmic violence - in the third movement, of the contrasting "celestial objects" described in the mini-concertos (for virtuoso particulate gestures and flamboyant coloratura trumpet motifs in a mysterious firmament, and for solid iron and magma in orbit around a cold star in flowing horn cantilenas) that comprise the first two. Ensemble Intercontemporain; Matthias Pintscher.