Klassik  Soloinstrument  Schlagwerk
Johannes Fischer Oehmsclassics Debut OC 716 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 716
Release date04/07/2008
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Druckmann, Jakob
  • Globokar, Vinko
  • Lopéz Lopéz, José Manuel
  • Pintscher, Matthias
  • Xenakis, Iannis

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      Iannis Xenakis: Rebonds pour percussion solo
      José Manuel Lopez-Lopez: Calculo secreto pour vibraphone
      Matthias Pintscher: nemeton for solo percussion
      Jacob Druckman: Reflections on the nature of water for
      solo marimba · Vinko Globokar: Toucher für einen Schlagzeuger
      (Text von Bertolt Brecht)
      Johannes Fischer, Schlagwerk

      At the 2007 International ARD Music Competition in Munich, he made a clean sweep of almost all prizes: in addition to the First Prize for Percussion, he was awarded almost all special prizes as well as the audience prize. Many found him to be the outstanding personality of the 2007 competition. Last but not least, German percussionist Johannes Fischer also won the OehmsClassics Special Prize, following which his first CD now appears in the OehmsClassics Debut series. The percussionist and composer – born in 1981 – put together a program of works written between 1973 and 2007 which are key compositions of modern music. In addition, the recording includes the composition nemeton of German composer Matthias Pintscher (* 1971). Written in 2007, this work was commissioned by the ARD as a required piece for all contestants. Fischer caused a sensation with this work, which also brought him the prize for the best interpretation of the commissioned work.

      Gravity … where would a percussionist be without gravity!

      This is the art of leaving the greater part of the active movement to the dead weight of our drumsticks, or sometimes of our hands, almost without using any muscle strength, in order to advance into the sound of each of our instruments. Such playing with gravity thus becomes a game we play with and around sound itself. Gestures and choreographically organised movements are not an end in themselves, but exclusively aim to structure and realise the sound of our scores. The repertory of sounds and gestures the performer makes use of may be as diverseas those scores might be. One continually re-learns, learns something new, because a beat is not just another beat.

      In Iannis Xenakis’ Rebonds (1987 – 89), a two-partite piece, the compositional idea centres on just this phenomenon of the beat or its rebound afterhitting the skin. Each individual gesture of the stick as it hits the skin is expanded into a model of form in a greater context of structures. It is interesting to see that (similar to the movement of a rubber ball rebounding off the floor), impulses continue to grow and develop a kind of accelerating form. This eventually leads to the performer being brought to his limits in terms of technical demands. The work achieves a fascinating, almost transcendent aura due to this “growing beyondyourself”. In contrast to many of his compositions, this percussion solo does not, however, include associations with ancient mythology; althoughXenakis creates a powerful, virtuoso work full of ritual power particularly through his disciplined compositional strategies and stringent organisation of time.

      The title alone is enough to convey a kind of mysterious atmosphere at the bottom of Matthias Pintscher’s nemeton (2007). The term “nemeton” comes from Celtic mysticism and refers to those magic places where druids would hold their ceremonies. According to Pintscher, a “place of captivated energy”. This energy first surrounds some isolated points of music that slowly forge links to each other and combine into cascades of sound, eventually to be released in loud peaks. The work is looking for the utopia of “legato” in the different, briefly resounding wood instruments, examines the vocal potential of those sound sources that initially seem so very dry and selective. The most beautiful and tender passages in this piece, however, are found where the sounds dissipate into a timeless state of silence once they have lost their gravity, to the limits of what is audible. Then, coalescing once more, they lead into an apotheotic finale for which they summon all their strength. Nemeton was written in close collaboration with percussionist Rainer Römer. It is a commission for the 56 th International Music Competition of the ARD in Munich.

      Silence, movement and meandering flow of time are some of the characteristics also found in the Reflections on the Nature of Water (1986) for solo marimba by Jacob Druckman. His six miniatures present different characteristics of water. For me, it is a particularly fascinating element, the basis of all life, present in such different forms as gas, ice or liquid. However, not only the water’sphysical features have inspired artists of all eras, it was also its poetic and associative potential. An example of this could be composers of the impressionist age whose tonal language Druckman most certainly feels a certain affinity for. Lithe, fluid, and yet able to shape and change even a stone in its unrelenting, uncompromising attitude. Scottish landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy repeatedly pointed out how much working with water, especially on river banks, taught him to better comprehend the sequence of time. Jacob Druckman expertly manages to express such different associative sound images in a most concise way by reducing his compositional means. Repeated motifs are reminiscent of cyclical sequences, of things returning although they have, naturally, changed with time. And thus, those miniatures seem ideally suited to the marimba. The tonal range the instrument has is skilfully explored; the very detailed score still offers a great area for playful and inventive development.

      Calculo Secreto (1995) by Spanish composer José Manuel López López demands a full, occasionally almost orchestral vibraphone sound. Once again, the listener must rely on what we are so familiar with – gravity. The piece was written in 1992 for Spanish percussionist Miguel Bernat. From a chord arpeggio whose harmonic structure turns out to be a central sound leading through the entire piece, we find the development of a kaleidoscopic labyrinth of form whose strongly contrasting extremes are only held together by the shared harmonic substance. López López is particularly interesting in playing with resonances. Harmonious colouring through sounds that are played into the acoustic “resonance shadow” of the preceding one. The music elegantly vanishes like a lingering scent aftera final set of sound cascades like waterfalls that rise up to a virtuoso peak.

      Vinko Globokar’s imaginative and inventive works for percussion are distinguished by a kind of “micro-virtuosity”. Quite decisively set against combining a huge battery of sound, his music insteadconcentrates on exploring the range and poetry of individual instruments. Toucher (1973) for a narratorpercussionist permits this protagonist to select seven instruments of his own choice. The only instruction to follow is that the sound of the instruments must agree with the vowels and consonants of the text to be recited. The musician furthermore has to realise the tonal subtleties of language by means of many different and special techniques (with their hands only). The text forming the basis of this work is the French translation of “The Life of Galileo Galilei” by Bertolt Brecht. Six passages have been put into a sequence without chronological basis, and separated by short interludes. The performer therefore has to be an actor, narrator, observer and percussionist, and all this in a very fast interplay of different roles and characters. During the piece, the dominance of language diminishes, and the instruments take over narrative responsibility in the middle parts.

      Each work in this recording shows very different facets of the percussion repertoire. All of them written between 1973 and 2 007, i. e. in a period of about 30 years in the history of our young repertoire, each one is a very individual and personal compositions whose history is frequently linked to an intensive collaboration between musician and composer. The percussionists of the first generation paved the way for many of the masterpieces that were to come, and they were able to reap a rich harvest; passed on to younger generations after different processes of fermentation. From them we have inherited a store of music which we have to maintain, develop and add to and supplement with new ideas and works – part of our responsibility as performers.

      Johannes Fischer


      Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2 001) was born to Greek parents in Romania. Fighting as a partisan during WWII, he lost his left eye and, in absence, was sentenced to death in Greece. Xenakis spent most of his life in France. After studying mathematics and composition at the Conservatoire in Paris, he worked as an engineer in the studio of legendary architect Le Corbusier. Xenakis’ music is dominated by his interest in mathematical and acoustic rules. Stochasticphenomena (e. g. rain, crowds of people, swarms of bees) can be found in musical structures.

      José Manuel López López was born in Madrid in 1956. He was educated in Madrid and Paris and attended courses with Luis de Pablo, Luigi Nono and Franco Donatoni. His oeuvre includes solo works as well as full-length operas and electro-acoustical music. A frequent award-winner, this composer is generally regarded as one of the most important representatives of contemporary music in Spain; and his works are regularly performed, most frequently in France. His music is published by Ricordi and Editions Transatlantique.

      Born in Marl (Northrhine-Westfalia) in 1971, Matthias Pintscher studied composition with Giselher Klebe and Manfred Trojahn. Encounters with Hans Werner Henze, who invited him to Montepulciano in 1991 and 1992 as well as with Helmut Lachenmann, Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös left their trace. Pintscher received many important awards, among them a first prize at the composition competition in Hitzacker (1992), the Rolf Liebermann Prize, the Prix de Monaco (1999), the composition prize of the Salzburg Festival and, in 2 002, the Hans Werner Henze Prize. Since the premiere of his opera Thomas Chatterton, he has been making a name for himself by writing major compositions for important musicians and orchestras worldwide. Since 2007, Matthias Pintscher has held a chair for composition at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Munich.

      American composer Jacob Druckman (1928 – 1996) was born in Philadelphia. After completing his education at the Juilliard School, he continued to study with, among others, Aaron Copland at Tanglewood and in Paris (1954 /55). In addition to electronic music, he wrote many pieces for orchestra and smaller ensembles. In 1972, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his first large-scale orchestral work, Windows. He taught at the Juillard School, at the Aspen Music Festival, at Tanglewood and at Yale University.

      Vinko Globokar (*1934 in Anderny, France) is a Slovenian trombonist and composer. He first studied the trombone in Ljubljana, then with André Lafoss at the Conservatoire de Paris where he also took composition lessons with René Leibowitz. From 1969 to 1982, he performed with the improvisation ensemble New Phonic Art, together with Michel Portal and Jean-Pierre Drouet. His talent as a trombone player became part of many newer works of music (e. g. by Luciano Berio, Maurcio Kagel, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Louis Andriessen) which he first performed. Some elements of the theatre as well as of improvising are important components of his comprehensive and versatile oeuvre.

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