Inner Cinema The Deutsche Symphonie Orchester conducted by Matthias Pintscher plays works of Dukas, Schnittke and Ravel

Matthias Pintscher
Stage and Screen:

This concert of the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester is actually ill-fated: Originally principal director Tugan Sokhiev was to conduct the concert which was supposed to consist fifty-fifty of works of Russian and French composers. Then, however, Sokhiev had to cancel because of family reasons. Matthias Pintscher filled in and replaced a piece by Prokofiev with a piece by another French composer, Paul Dukas. The intended balance for the evening was destroyed, the signs conceivably infavorable. But then suddenly something unexpected happens: This somehow improvised concert shows the orchestra at the highest level of its capability, its dramaturgy is exceedingly compelling and offers interpretations of partially well-known works which make one listen attentively. Above all, however, it retains a nearly electrifying suspense – from the first to the last note.

Those are narrative, also illustrating works which are to accompany images and in any case to create suchlikes in the listeners' imagination. Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice is exemplary for this: From the first to the last second it is profoundly exciting how Pintscher builds up musical suspense, does not let it fade at any time and how he makes the basic structure of this piece perceptible. The orchestra plays forceful and articulately and has a transparency which makes every single note, every single instrument audible. Pintscher has the orchestra make strong accents, he also does not fear abrupt shifts and sharp edges. He focuses on the contrasts in the score and creates something close to a soundtrack for silent movie which does not need a screen. The drama about the sorcerer's apprentice who nearly perishes by his own magic finds clear and haunting images in the listener's imagination.

Later something similiar happens with Ravel. Shimmering and fairy tale-like Ma mère l'oye comes in, builds up a tremendous dynamic which here also creates a sort of cinema for one's ears. Again Pintscher focuses on the contrasts, lets different sentiments collide with each other and exploits the extremes between loud and quiet masterfully to create an almost seizable suspense. The transparency he creates is fascinating, the sound that is composed of every single one's crystal clear playing is sparkling, the soli of the different instruments are highly precise. It is the same thing with Daphins et Chloé: Scarcely one has heard the famous dawn of the beginning this thrilling: The utterly self-evident transition from the gentle, fragile, a structure seeking beginning to the radiant triumph, from the fragmentary impressionism to the iridescent sound palette. Pintscher proofs his sense for a clever dramaturgy, for the dramatic value of musical contrasts here, too. Fast and precise changes of sentiments, volume and tempo characterize the playing. The development of force in the third movement is nearly painful before it ends amidst a moment of highest tension.

Highlight of the concert, however, is the only piece that originated without textual source or an extra-musical concept, but still benefits the most from Pintscher's inner cinema: Alfred Schnittke's Viola Concert. The orchestra is most of the time restrained and only comes to the fore when the score demands it. It proves to be a precise accompanist and commentator of the musical happeningswith the soloist in the center.

In Tamestit's and Pintscher's hands Schnittke's piece becomes a human drama, in which hope and desperation, love and pain always belong together and even need each other.