The Raven Nevermore = MORITZ EGGERT: Music of Infinite Variety = I have become lost to the world; Tetragrammaton; The Raven Nevermore, Overture; Adagio, An Answered Question; The eternal song; Three Souls – Inga Humpe, vocals/ Adrian Lliescu, violin/ Mortiz Eggert, p./ Heine Schiffers, guitar/ Gregor Daszko, percussion/ Stuttgart Ch. Orch./ Michael Hofstetter – Audite multichannel SACD 92.687, 64:59 (10/30/12) [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
Much is made of the music of Moritz Eggert (b. 1965); some of his music is criticized as “pornographic” (really? Coming from European critics?) While others assign to him some sort of “bad boy” status who reinvents the avant-garde. In truth, and quite sincerely, he is none of these things, and in many ways is simply building upon conservative classical foundations the way that composers always have. True, he doesn’t let physical space or traditional instruments bind his imagination, and he pays a lot of attention to pop music influences while also fulfilling the age old role as performer of his own music. But really, nothing in his modern arsenal supersedes or replaces what the genuine avant-garde of 50 years ago already did.
Rhythmically he owes much to the minimalists like Glass and Adams, and would be nowhere without John Cage’s sense of exploratory sounds as music. Stockhausen had to have an influence on the spatial dimensions of his work. His melodic material is highly compressed and subjective, though he is able to go from traditional almost eight-to-a-bar songs to phrases that would not feel out of place in Philip Glass. Unlike Glass though, he changes on the drop of a hat to material not organically connected to his first themes, but returns to them uninhibited. For Moritz the entire world is his stage, and all the world is musical by nature, though his excursions in a helicopter with singers onboard while rendezvousing with a concert hall performance seems no more untraditional than a piece with more conventional forces. All are welcome, none rejected, and all fit—that’s the amazing thing about his music.
I would recommend highly looking him up on YouTube where there are a stockpile of videos displaying all sorts of his music (theater is a particular attraction to him). I can tell you sincerely that while some critics paint him as doing lots of new things, none of that is true. It is all rehashed, though in a much simpler, more refined, and absolutely more tonal idiom.
This disc is a compendium of some of his works, Music of infinite Variety, though that really overstates the case. The Britten-like string workings of Tetragrammaton will entertain you to no end without taking you down any new roads. I have become lost to the world is, after all is said and done, a simple song sung with luscious tone and feeling by pop singer and composer – Inga Humpe, based on the same Ruckert lieder Mahler considered. The chamber orchestra work The Raven Nevermore, Overture actually spawns hints of Vaughan Williams in his Lark Ascending, using a minimum of materials recycled in ingenious fashion. Charles Ives is the protagonist in the equally unanswered Adagio, An Answered Question, where Ives meets Mahler in many ways, but Moritz fails to provide any more substantive a response than Ives did. Maybe that is the answer. The eternal song is a static and dramatic excursion into—where? We don’t know, but we do know something significant happens without being able to pinpoint it in this short piece. And the Stravinsky-like Three Souls are variations on Wilhelm Killmayer’s melody O How beautiful is the month of May for violin and piano, exceptionally brilliant and exquisite music that should entice any violin-piano duo.
Audite gives these works great surround sound of bright and vivid contrasts. This is music that is extraordinarily creative, easy to love and difficult to reject, by one of the most important compositional voices of our time. You might reject Moritz in the end, but you can’t ignore him; and many will love him.
Beyond special- Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul, the DELUXE version…