H.E. PIETSCH The Profound Effect of One(2005)
(I. From Nowhere [3:49]; II. Revelation [5:16]; III. The Uncertainty Principle
Ralph Morrison (violin); Richard
Altenbach (violin); Simon Oswell (viola); Andrew
Shulman (cello)/H.E. Pietsch
rec. 2 June 2005, Todd AO Studios, Studio City, CA Reflets Dans La Sainte Chapelle(2005)
Wally Snow (vibraphone); M.B. Gordy (percussion)/Brent McMunn
rec. 2 June 2005, Todd AO Studios, Studio City, CA The Profound Effect of One(arr. for
two pianos, four hands) (2005)
(I. From Nowhere [3:39]; II. Revelation [4:58]; III. The Uncertainty Principle
Brent McMunn (piano); Bryan Pezzone (piano)
rec. 20 December 2005, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA. DDD SPM
6 08793 01072 7[47:08]
The Profound Effect of One is H.E. Pietsch's
first orchestral release. It is interesting that it consists
primarily of two versions of the title work with only one other
piece included: an orchestral rendering of his tone poem “Reflets
dans la Sainte Chapelle”. It is evident that he is banking
quite a bit on the one piece.
The title work is a three movement piece that debuted in 2005.
It is quite reminiscent of Philip Glass's more recent film
work where the minimalism
is tempered with neo-romantic melodies. The first and third movements (titled "From
Nowhere" and "The Uncertainty Principle") are flush with
driving ostinatos contrasting fluid melodies that are passed around the
string sections. The second movement, "Revolution", is a bit
more introspective and traditional, calling to mind the late-romantic period.
Even so there is still a minimalist influence with the opening cellos using
a fluid repetition the same way a pop song goes to a keyboard riff. The
entire thing feels very contemporary without ever being either alienating
or trite. Even with the clear influences, this is an evolutionary rather
than a derivative work, and may be one of the most interesting and moving
21st century works that this reviewer has encountered.
The fourth track on the CD is called "Reflets dans la Sainte Chapelle".
It was written after a visit to the Parisian chapel referenced in the title.
It is similar in style to the "Revolution" movement from "The
Profound Effect of One", though more somber and with a slightly extended
instrumentation. The use of vibraphone and orchestral percussion adds to
the overall ambience. The work feels as if it is ever evolving and flowing.
It has a touch of Smetana or Liszt in the orchestration, but again with the
American minimalist influences in every thematic recapitulation. When, halfway
through the piece, the melody is taken by the vibraphone the listener cannot
help but stop for a moment to revel in the simplistic beauty of the moment.
This is a work by a composer of great promise well able to hold a listener's
attention throughout the major work.
The piano reductions that follow are written for four hands and are interesting
in that they showcase the composition in a more stark way. As I listened
I was struck by how solid, compositionally speaking, these pieces are.
At the same time however they are noticeably less emotive, especially in
the second movement. While the piano is well used for the percussive aspects
and rapid runs, the soaring melodies are simply better rendered on strings.
In essence there is nothing "wrong" per se with the piano
reductions, but if these were the only way that these three movements were
heard then only "The Uncertainty Principle" would stand out as
Considered as a whole though, this is one of the most solid recent compilations
of music by a young composer. The orchestral portions of this album could
not be more highly recommended.
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