Matthias Pintscher: bereshit for large ensemble

“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. “As if you woke up in the pitch darkness of night in a strange room and only realised 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.” Pintscher describes this feeling as the starting point for his composition.

Imagining the creation of things is both 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 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 programme here: “What interests me is the flowing sounds and colours, the conception of a sonority in perspective. The piece is about this great river, about a continuum of sounds and events which 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