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en sourdine (2002) Musik for Violine und Orchester

tenebrae (2000/01) Musik for skordierte Viola und kl. Ensemble mit Live-Elektronik

Reflections on Narcissus (2004/05) for violoncello and orchestra

Frank Peter Zimmermann violin
Christophe Desjardins viola
Truls Mork cello
Ensemble intercontemporain
NDR Sinfonieorchester
Matthias Pintscher conductor

Kairos 0012582KAI TT:78 mins

(MATTHIAS PINTSCHER b.1971 is not easy to write about. We have found this composer, whose music has been featured in London increasingly, to have an individual and compelling voice, especially for his subtleties of timbre, often very quiet, as reflected in the violin & orchestra piece's title here.

There is a problem; the notes writer for Kairos suggests approaching it as if waking out of a strange dream... And he continues for several closely packed pages saying it can't really be described... The influence of abstract painter Cy Twombly (illustrated) is stressed...

Sadly, several reviews of his concerts in London (including the Reflections on Narcissus at the Barbican) have "gone missing" from MP; I am happy to quote instead from The Times review, which reflected our own feelings on the occasion: (Narcissus) sees himself, he falls in love, he dies, spends his afterlife condemned to repeat the experience over and over again.- - Pintscher's Reflections on Narcissus, which received its UK premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its composer, is about the most dramatic retelling of this episode that you could possibly imagine (Neil Fisher).

This cello symphony, one of Pintscher's largest works, sounds well on this recording, also with Truls Mork and the composer conducting.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Try also Kairos 0012052KAI. I guarantee 'something different'.

Sadly, the British musical world's interest in Pintscher may be waning; newer European composers tend to be taken up for a time and then dropped. Future programme planners will not be unaware that Pintscher's Five Orchstral Pieces (included on this Kairos disc) fell like the proverbial stone Easter 2008 after being played to a Festival Hall audience that had come for Beethoven's 9th... (q.v. The Times review).

Treating a huge orchestra with subtlety and (mostly) reserve, this work predictably failed to engage, leaving a problem for the conductor: - - It’s hard to recall Festival Hall applause more lukewarm in sound than the dutiful spattering of hands greeting the first British concert performance of Matthias Pintscher’s Five Orchestral Pieces. You could see the conductor, Christoph Eschenbach, weighing his options. Should I keep bowing? Or cut and run? - -

For readers who would like to pursue attempts to characterise his elusive but curiously gripping music I give a few links below.