18 August 2009, Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun
Maverick Heiner Goebbels
Music we've been missing (Part 6)
Last week, I advocated for more performances of music by composers who tend to scare American audiences: Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. I figured I might as well follow that up with music by a composer who would be even more frightening: Heiner Goebbels. This extraordinary creative artist has been writing some amazing stuff, music that, in my experience, is really quite unlike anything else out there today. And that's reason enough for orchestras to take note. I'll never forget the delicious shock nine years ago of encountering the US premiere of ... Goebbels' Surrogate Cities at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, my first exposure to his work. This gargantuan piece blew me away, so fresh was the language, the structure, the feeling of the score. It was quite the event, and I've been waiting to repeat it ever since. I don't really expect the Baltimore Symphony to tackle it any day soon, especially while the orchestra is carefully watching every penny (Surrogate Cities would cost plenty to produce, I'm sure). But it would be the sort of thing that Marin Alsop ought to have a fab time with. And I'd bet that a whole bunch of unsuspecting folks here would find themselves ultimately won over by the audacity and brilliance of Goebbels' vision. There are, of course, other pieces to choose from, and I've rounded up the only ones I could find from that ever-treasured source, YouTube. They provide just the slightest taste of what the composer has to offer, but I hope you'll agree that this is precisely the sort of music we need to stir things up once in a while, the sort of music we've been sorely missing.
on: Surrogate Cities (Composition for Orchestra)