2012 Roche Commissions Matthias Pintscher

Matthias Pintscher was granted the sixth Roche Commissions award. His composition, "Chute d'Étoiles", had its world premiere in Lucerne on August 25, 2012.

Matthias Pintscher was born in 1971 in Marl, North Rhine-Westphalia, and currently resides in New York. Hans Werner Henze has been a champion of his music, as has Peter Eötvös, with whom Pintscher took a seminar in composition and who also taught him conducting. Matthias Pintscher has emerged with unusual speed to become recognized as one of the most successful composers of the generation. He works also as conductor with renowned interpreters and orchestras. Since 2007, Matthias Pintscher has been professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich and since 2010 at the New York University. In June 2012, he has been appointed Music Director of the Ensemble intercontemporain beginning in the 2013-2014 season. Matthias Pintscher's commission for Roche, which is scored for two trumpets and orchestra is entitled "Chute d'Étoiles". Matthias Pintscher who is dedicated to art, has created with this piece an "hommage à Anselm Kiefer."

Roche is very pleased that Matthias Pintscher accepted the commission after Sofia Gubaidulina had regrettably withdrawn from her award on short notice for personal reasons.

Introduction into the oeuvre

When in 2012 "Chute d'Étoiles" received its world premiere in Lucerne and later its New York premiere, Matthias Pintscher provided insight into his oeuvre and the composition before each of these performances. The introductory conversations were guided by Mark Sattler, Dramatic Advisor of Lucerne Festival, in Lucerne and by Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean of Juilliard School, in New York.

Quotes of Matthias Pintscher excerpted from the introductory conversations into his oeuvre:

"Chute d'Étoiles' is an installation by Anselm Kiefer that filled the entire Grand Palais in Paris in 2007. It is a visual representation of a coronary, a collapse. Perhaps you could go as far as to say that it is the collapse of the world, the collapse of a state or condition, and present in this fracture, this coronary, in this rupture is the new beginning, the reconstitution, the reanimation. We all experience coronaries and collapses in our own lives, and in these very vulnerable moments there is also the beauty of the new beginning. We look at all these fractures, these fragments and put them together again. I find Anselm Kiefer's sheer mastery of material incredibly fascinating. There are gigantic lead objects, lead plates, hundreds of them, huge plates that have been fused together and the quality of this metal, of lead, fascinates me inordinately. Lead is one of the heaviest metals, but also one of the softest. It was above all this incongruity between extreme malleability and incredible heaviness, this thoroughly physical quality, that inspired me to seek an acoustic counterpart. Heavy as lead, yet at the same time malleable."

"If you imagine that orchestral sound space as the heaviness, the lead, the two trumpets are kind of valves, outside of that space, and they determine how the energy inside, that captivated energy, is being released. It could be extremely aggressive, which is the perfect thing for a trumpet to do because they can play loud, they can project extremely well, but also by applying different kinds of mutes there can be only very little release of air. So you feel, even in the tiniest pianissimo, in very soft passages, where only there’s a little air released, you feel the energy, which is kept behind it and that I found very much visually and physically in the work of Kiefer and this is exactly what I try to do in my piece. It’s not a translation of something visual into the acoustic, it is something that is simply inspired by a sound of a space, which I encountered."

"I have worked a lot with the trumpet in recent years. It can be a very complex instrument. We tend to immediately associate the trumpet with fanfares, military music, emphatic, strong, metallic, bright tones, but the trumpet also has very different side. Like the flute, the trumpet is played by blowing air through it, and I wanted to sound out this other spectrum of possibilities offered by the trumpet. I used two trumpets because I wanted an antiphonal dialogue, an interaction, a conversation. The whole piece is actually a trio. There are three equivalent elements. One is the orchestra, the orchestra as soloist, and the two trumpet players."


Roche Commissions 2012 - Matthias PintscherA glimpse at the score

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