commentary to Internet Symphony

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Harald Genzmer, Bertold Hummel, Roland Leistner-Mayer and Moritz Eggert:

Internet Symphony for large orchestra (2000)

I. Andante con moto beginning

II. Adagio

III. Finale

 

First performance: January 1, 2000, Hof, Freiheitshalle
Hofer Symphoniker / Howard Golden

Instrumentation: 3 flutes (3.+picc.), 2 oboes, clarinet., bass-clarinet., 2 bassoons, Kontra-bassoon. - 4 horns, 2 trumpets., 3 trombones. - 1 timp., 3 perc.. - strings (10.8.6.5.4)

Duration: 20 Minutes

Publisher: Vogt & Fritz, Schweinfurt

 

The Bavarian Music Advisory Council wanted to respond to the State Government's motto for the Millenium celebrations with a contribution reflecting musical life in Bavaria. The General Secretary, J÷rg Riedlbauer, together with the four composers Harald Genzmer, Bertold Hummel, Roland Leistner-Mayer und Moritz Eggert,
representing all generations of Bavarian composers in the 20th century, wanted to organise a joint project. The internet was selected, as the central medium of the 21st century, to transmit art world-wide in a form never known before. Harald Genzmer developed three themes for a three-movement symphony. Bertold Hummel began work on the first movement, Moritz Eggert on the second and Roland Leistner-Mayer on the third. The three colleagues exchanged scores and each continued the ideas of his predecessor.

The first movement was started by Bertold Hummel. In a gently flowing motion (Andante con moto), the theme given by Harald Genzmer is developed initially with deliberate restraint over a bed of sound in the bass clarinet and lower strings. Gradually, middle and upper registers are brought in; the percussion sets striking accents until finally Genzmer's 12-tone row provides the framework for the brilliance of the full orchestra. With great craftsmanship, Hummel begins to play with the rich variety of ideas latent in the Genzmer theme, creating for the orchestra both tutti passages with a sure sense of the total effect and a number of concertante phases. Motifs go their own way, straying through the different orchestral groups with the lightness of a weasel, undergo a constant intensification process and finally slip into more tranquil waters - the point at which the transition to Moritz Eggert's middle section occurs. This central part has a deliberately scherzo-like feel, gaining a particular charm from the frequent rhythmical and metrical changes. Eggert also splinters off micro-cells of motif material; occasional references to Hummel's patterns of development contribute to inner unity. The capricious interchanges between the individual string groups intensify and, after a burlesque tutti, develop into a charming scene with horns, lower strings and bassoon group set against each other, until Roland Leistner-Mayer's contribution returns finally to Hummel's initial tempo and closes quietly with diverse refined rhythmical variations.
The middle movement, as the opening ideas show, was conceived by Moritz Eggert as a broad Adagio, subtly developing out of a closely-woven texture in the woodwind and then immediately coloured by horn and wood-block accents. But soon the multiply divided string section dominates developments, wind and percussion accents fan the flames energetically. Bertold Hummel carries this over into his middle section, intensifying the movement with a plethora of time-signature changes, leading the Adagio then into a more spirited middle section. This more lively part emerges into a peaceful sound landscape, growing again more lively through subtle rhythmic touches as Roland Leistner-Mayer takes us into the closing section, moving through a pi¨ mosso intensification before closing peacefully in an exchange between lower string registers, horn and trombone groups as well as the solo clarinet.
Leistner-Mayer opens the Finale, also choosing restrained dynamics, but with an unusually intensive and heavily-charged rhythmic element. It begins presto and transmits a feeling of great tension. Out of this rhythmic momentum, a continuous pulsation emerges, which Bertold Hummel continues into the middle section, creating an "oasis of tranquillity"; the momentum is carried over into the closing section by Moritz Eggert. The motion remains lively until the end, making use of a technique resembling "zapping" with TV remote control, picking out all kinds of elements from earlier in the work, removing them from their context, fragmenting them and rearranging them in new ways.
(From the programme notes for the premiŔre with the Hof Symphony Orchestra)

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