Magazine article Strings

Music for the End of Time

Magazine article Strings

Music for the End of Time

Article excerpt

This piece is becoming the core of my repertoire-there are plans to record and I am often thinking about how to integrate it in future programs. I studied it for the premiere in November 2015 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota.

The unique privilege of working with living composers is that you can ask them how to approach the piece. Michael Hersch's answer:

"Firstly and primarily, one needs a clear vision of the dramatic trajectory from beginning to end. (It doesn't need to be my ideal interpretation.) This vision will shape the ensemble's setting of the journey, and how they prepare physically and mentally as well. It is my hope that the soloist can strongly influence how the 13 instruments of the ensemble approach sound.

"The violinist should have a sense of how the solo part fits into the tapestry of the ensemble . . . how each voice functions, and even when there is seemingly chaos, that the player makes committed expressive decisions.

"Spontaneity is encouraged but still should arise from a place of commitment. The violinist needs to be able to produce sounds of true-not simulated-brutality. He or she needs to be comfortable playing completely without vibrato for extended periods, and should be attuned to extremely fine gradations of intonation and react accordingly."

Michael Hersch's answer confirms what I have heard from many other composers: They do not prescribe what to do in detail; they give you freedom as long as you are committed and convincing.

Among contemporary composers one of the most urgent and compelling voices is Michael Hersch.

Look at our world: Workplaces get relocated to countries with cheap labor, while our governments lecture their governments about human rights. Our many jobless turn to crime and go to prison by scores. Pension schemes crumble, the rich get richer, wars begin, bombs kill civilians. Global warming dries up whole world regions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.