Author Topic: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)  (Read 14226 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« on: March 11, 2008, 11:37:27 AM »
Just found out--how could I have missed this?--that a thrilling-sounding production of Zimmermann's opera, Die Soldaten (1965) will be part of this year's Lincoln Center Festival in July.  The production was originally staged by Jürgen Flimm in 2006 for the Ruhr Triennale in Germany, and sounds quite amazing.  It will be staged in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, an unusual venue for this type of thing.

More information is here.

I saw the New York City Opera production back in 1991 and recall liking it, but at that time hadn't seen much opera, nor heard much of Zimmermann's work. 

Other fans, favorite works, recommended recordings?

--Bruce
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 07:11:22 AM by bhodges »
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2008, 12:30:04 PM »
I must go. Missed my chance in '91.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2008, 12:39:07 PM »
And there's even a DVD of this production, here

--Bruce
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 07:11:45 AM by bhodges »
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pjme

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2008, 12:39:17 PM »
Symphonie in einem Satz


ca 15 minutes of hot boiling lava.

Peter

Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 12:41:42 PM »
Symphonie in einem Satz


ca 15 minutes of hot boiling lava.

Peter

I would love to be immersed in hot boiling lava for 15 minutes.  ;D 

(I assume there is but one recording, or...?)

--Bruce
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pjme

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2008, 12:53:00 PM »
Yes Bruce, afaik, Ingo Metzmacher & the Bamberger Symphoniker on EMI CLassics 56 184 - coupled with Hartmann's 2 nd and 5th and Stravinsky's Symphony in three movs.
i just took out that CD : it's only 14.20 minutes ...In my humble opinion, it's in the league of Ruggles Sun treader or Akira Miyoshi's Concerto for orchestra ( would love to find that on CD...).

Peter

Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2008, 12:59:30 PM »
Many thanks, Peter! 

--Bruce
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2008, 01:01:28 PM »
And there's even a DVD of this production, here

Damn, another one to buy :D The first DVD was also very good - one of my favourite opera productions on DVD.
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2008, 01:04:32 PM »
Damn, another one to buy :D The first DVD was also very good - one of my favourite opera productions on DVD.

I saw that other one, browsing for available DVDs, and haven't seen it, either.  But I gather you like it very much!

--Bruce
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Offline edward

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2008, 01:08:31 PM »
I would love to be immersed in hot boiling lava for 15 minutes.  ;D 

(I assume there is but one recording, or...?)

--Bruce
I have two: Lutoslawski conducting the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Metzmacher conducting the Bamberger Symphoniker. Both get across very impressively the music's hard-edged Expressionism (stylistically, one could compare this period of Zimmermann's work to Hartmann).

Zimmermann's music is typically very eclectic: alongside Darmstadt party-line pieces one sees essays in neoclassicism like the oboe concerto or something akin to the Third Stream (though preceding it) in the trumpet concerto; later on one there's the contrast between collage pieces like Musique pour les soupers de Roi Ubu (which contains no original music, only quotations--including from Zimmermann himself), and the development of more typical modernism in a work like Intercommunicazione. Ultimately, the music becomes bleak and despairing: the orchestral Stille und Umkehr refusing to go beyond a single note, the cantatas Requiem for a Young Poet and Ekklesiastiche Aktion being amongst the gloomiest things I've ever heard.

Personal favourites? The Symphony in One Movement, for sure, also the cello and orchestra pieces, Die Soldaten of course, the orchestral prelude Photoptosis (supposedly festal, but I find it deeply disturbing), Musique pour les soupers de Roi Ubu (not available on CD right now, as far as I know, but you can download it from loudav's indispensible Avant Garde Project), the two late cantatas, and Intercommunicazione.






I've no idea how availability is for many of these recordings: Zimmermann's not the sort of composer I imagine would sell well.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2008, 01:41:09 PM »
Thanks, edward, for all this information.  And seeing the covers, I realize I've seen that Siegfried Palm CD, and thought it looked worth having.  The others I don't recognize, but I'll take a look at Academy next time I'm there. 

Your description of Stille und Umkehr makes it sound like Scelsi!

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Offline edward

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2008, 01:45:09 PM »
Your description of Stille und Umkehr makes it sound like Scelsi!
Actually, I'd say it's like anti-Scelsi in the same way that late Nono might be anti-Feldman.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline some guy

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2008, 01:54:08 PM »
The Metzmacher performance of Sinfonie in einem Satz is also on a Musik in Deutschland disc, Sinfonische Musik 1950-1960 (74321 73515 2).

Another Musik in Deutschland discs also has some excerpts from Roi Ubu, but there's a complete performance on that eight CD Rückblick Moderne set, if you want eight CDs of a mixed bag of 20th century music. The performances are a mixed bag, I should say. The pieces are all fine.

There are a scattering of other Zimmermann pieces on the Musik in Deutschland CDs, including Dialoge and Stille und Umkehr, which has many more pitches than one, though the one is prominent, to be sure! I certainly don't find that piece to be at all bleak or despairing, and I would be very interested to know what Edward finds "deeply disturbing" about Photoptosis, which is only festal in that it was written to be played at a bank's hundredth anniversary festival.

Offline edward

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2008, 02:03:56 PM »
There are a scattering of other Zimmermann pieces on the Musik in Deutschland CDs, including Dialoge and Stille und Umkehr, which has many more pitches than one, though the one is prominent, to be sure! I certainly don't find that piece to be at all bleak or despairing, and I would be very interested to know what Edward finds "deeply disturbing" about Photoptosis, which is only festal in that it was written to be played at a bank's hundredth anniversary festival.
I should've been clearer about Stille und Umkehr: thanks for noting that it merely keeps obsessively returning to that one pitch rather than sitting on it all the time. With Photoptosis I find (though I'm not synaesthesic) that the music goes from a "natural" field of colour to one of blinding light that blots out all before it.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2008, 02:08:30 PM »
Fascinating descriptions, guys.  I'm wondering why I haven't run across some of these works previously, but it may be as simple as the dreaded phrase, "out of print." 

--Bruce
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2008, 02:09:10 PM »
I saw that other one, browsing for available DVDs, and haven't seen it, either.  But I gather you like it very much!

It's amazing (subtitles are a plus too - IIRC the other DVD doesn't have any). There is a huge amount of detail in the soldier's costumes and makeup, and the three-dimensional set is on a grand scale. It may be preferable to the 2006 production, although reviews would have to be compared first (a Musicweb one is here).
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2008, 02:16:00 PM »
It's amazing (subtitles are a plus too - IIRC the other DVD doesn't have any). There is a huge amount of detail in the soldier's costumes and makeup, and the three-dimensional set is on a grand scale. It may be preferable to the 2006 production, although reviews would have to be compared first (a Musicweb one is here).

"The closing tableau in Kupfer’s production is worth the price of the DVD alone."   Excellent...sold!  The cover photo looks nothing like what I recall from the production here.

--Bruce
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lukeottevanger

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2008, 02:38:32 PM »
Interesting to read Edward's views of Stille und Umkehr. That's the only score of Zimmermann's that I own, and I've been keen to actually hear it for a while. Intruiging looking piece....

The note in question, btw, is D, and the chromatic clustering around it suggests that it sounds more D minor-ish than D major-ish. I know someone who'd be happy with that.... ;D ;D ;D

Offline some guy

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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2008, 02:45:57 PM »
Interesting comment about Photoptosis, Edward! From the scant program notes I've read about that piece, I think that that's probably exactly what Zimmermann had in mind when writing it.


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Re: Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2009, 07:22:47 PM »
CPO cd of cello/piano music Bach/Wambach is impressive, especially the solo cello Sonata (1962).