Nature and colors set to music – the “Ensemble Plus” under the direction of Thomas Gertner gave a refreshing concert in Magazin 4 in Bregenz
The title “Nachtschattengewächse”, Michael Amann’s sextet for violin (Michaela Girardi), viola (Guy Speyers), cello (Jessica Kuhn), flute (Anja Nowotny-Baldauf), clarinet (Hauke Kohlmorgen) and trumpet (Roché Jenny) has chosen, was at the same time a source of inspiration for the musical theme of the work. In three sections, the composer, who lives in Vienna and was born in Vorarlberg in 1964, set the growth and blooming of plants in analogy to music and the tone color patterns that emerge. First, dabbed musical event units were added to form chromatic lines. With imitations in the clarinet and flute they announced a cantilena for the violoncello, which soon found a resolute conclusion in the trumpet. Short lines and call-like motifs formed an interplay in the middle section between towering gestures in flageolet sounds and downward pulling phrases that grounded the flow of sound. What tended to be vertical in the previous section expanded horizontally in the third part. The trumpet, played with a mute, fitted very nicely into the overall structure as a timbre. In particular, the passages aimed at “three-dimensionality” attracted attention in the filigree interwoven sound events.
Similar means – different characters
Different densely placed textures determined the musical flow in the “Cloud Trio” for string trio by Kaija Saariaho. While the first three sections played with all sorts of tonal qualities, the fourth section was particularly convincing. There the cello and then the violin emerged from the dense flow of sound and again and again let the tone lines flow into a fleeting conclusion. The work “Paludes” by Tristan Murail developed a narrative style. But within the jagged sentence it took a long time until the direction of the goal was halfway clear.The minimalist, interwoven phrases in Gabriella Smith’s composition “Maré” led immediately into the musical experience of nature by the sea with surging wave movements and wind noises. Eruptive surfaces and dynamic thrusts, bubbling phrases and powerful layers formed shimmering surfaces in different timbres. The flow of movement was accelerated and slowed down again and again. So the music unfolded somewhat boldly, but thanks to the sparkling energy of the ensemble musicians: inside, under the direction of Thomas Gertner, as a pleasant breeze.