Compositions

Bereshit (In the Beginning)

Matthias Pintscher
Composed 2013

World Premiere
May 24-26, 2013
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
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Matthias Pintscher

As from nothing, something created—something natural—comes into existence: Matthias Pintscher has taken this as his theme in his new ensemble composition bereshit.

“In a beginning…” refers to the biblical creation myth: “bereshit” is the first word of the Torah, of the Old Testament. This concept contains the idea of an approximation — “a” beginning, not “the” beginning, a turning point. This is the starting point of Matthias Pintscher’s composition bereshit for large ensemble. It deals with nothing less than the act of creation, the formation of the natural.

Pintscher describes this feeling as the starting point for his composition, “As if you woke up in the pitch darkness of night in a strange room and only realized after a few seconds where you were. In this state you attempt to make out the shapes of the space. It is a beginning of a beginning from absolute darkness and shapelessness. Quite cautiously and gradually particles free themselves, then condense and fit together in shapes.”

Imagining the creation of things is a metaphor for the creation, the creative act, and its incomprehensibility. It ultimately also describes the process of perception, of a person’s development of awareness. It is a philosophical reflection in itself. A portrayal of this can be found in music as an art of processes.

bereshit emerges from an initial sound,” the composer says, “as if from an absolute nothing, from a sound which subsides into percussive noises, from which elements then disentangle themselves and condense. It is a very organic piece, the material is treated quasi chronologically, it develops slowly. The composition emerges from the idea of freeing an entire compendium of sounds, gestures, rhythms, orchestrations from an original state of sound. There is a central note, an F, which opens the piece and stretches through the piece like a horizon.”

A genuine conception of processes, which Matthias Pintscher has developed in his most recent compositions—such as the Violin Concerto, Mar’eh, and the choral work she-cholat ahava ani, for example—becomes, as it were, the program here: “What interests me is the flowing sounds and colors, the conception of a sonority in perspective. The piece is about this great river, about a continuum of sounds and events that is continually transformed as the piece grows. Only gradually do things solidify, and there are solo episodes. bereshit continues what I have developed in sonorities in recent years. In its conception of sound and spatial effect, this piece goes far beyond the chamber music-like dimension of the ensemble forces.”

Marie Luise Maintz ©2013

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