> Lentz Ngangkar 472 397 2Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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Georges LENTZ (born 1965)

Ngangkar (1998/2000)

Guyuhmgan (2001)

Sydney Symphony Orchestra/Edo de Waart

Recorded: (live) Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, February 2000 and August 2001

ABC CLASSICS 472 397-2 [26:15]


 

 

Luxembourg-born Georges Lentz studied violin and theory at the Luxembourg Conservatoire, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and at the Hannover Musikhochschule. He also studied composition with Alexander Müllenbach in Luxembourg, Peter Sculthorpe in Sydney and Donald Erb in Cleveland. In 1990 he settled in Australia and has been (and may still be) a violinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The bulk of his present output consists of his ambitious on-going series of works sharing the collective title of "Caeli enarrant..." composed for varying instrumental or orchestral forces. (The title comes from Psalm XIX, and reflects Lentz’s fascination for the cosmos and religious beliefs.) So, "Caeli enarrant..." I (1989/1994) is a large-scale orchestral work displaying a remarkable orchestral flair and a quite impressive achievement. (A recording of this is available in LGNM’s Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgeoise – Volume 5.) "Caeli enarrant..." III (1990/1996) for strings, percussion and treble voice is still unrecorded though it was first performed in Australia in 1996 whereas "Caeli enarrant..." II and "Caeli enarrant..."VI do not still feature in the composer’s work list available from UNIVERSAL EDITION AG and must thus be considered as works-in-progress. However "Caeli enarrant..." IV (1991/3) for string quartet and four cymbals, and "Caeli enarrant..." V (1989/1992) for prepared piano are available on TALL POPPIES TP 035.

In 1994, Lentz planned a seventh part to the cycle entitled Mysterium "Caeli enarrant..." VII first as a "private, largely conceptual work" though some time later Lentz started composing parts of Mysterium : Birrung for 11 strings (1997), Nguurra for clarinet, violin, cello, piano and Thai gongs (2000/2001) and the orchestral pieces recorded here.

Both works, obviously meant as companion pieces, are very similar in mood and global outline though each has its own character. "Ngangkar" and "Guyuhmgan" are Aboriginal words for "Stars". According to Richard Toop’s excellent notes, one primary difference between the two works is that Ngangkar is a view of the night sky from Earth whereas Guyuhmgan is rather space viewed from space. A further difference lies in the orchestral textures of the pieces: those of Guyuhmgan are more varied, richer and more complex, adding computer-generated sounds into the orchestral fabric. However, Messiaen-like chorales feature prominently in both works. Ngangkar is on the whole a dreamy, mysterious evocation of a starry sky whereas the greater timbral and dynamic variety of Guyuhmgan suggests the extraordinary images caught by telescopes such as the Hubble telescope. Moreover both are beautifully atmospheric, superbly scored pieces in which Lentz’s orchestral mastery is evident throughout.

Edo de Waart conducts carefully prepared readings and get the wholehearted support of his orchestra; and the live recordings are very fine indeed with few extraneous noises. A superb release which will hopefully prompt the composer to complete "Caeli enarrant..." VII in a not too distant future.

 

Hubert Culot

 

 

 


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