Modernist wins the Composition Competition


The informed audience could hardly have had anything against the first prize going to German Joachim F.W. Schneider (b. 1970) for Drei Orchesterstücke. It was the most modernist and at the same time the most original piece in the competition. Drei Orchesterstücke is a sort of postmodern variant on the twelve-note system developed by Arnold Schönberg.

Schneider's work is based on a highly complex theoretical system that does not, however, prevent the composer's imagination from taking flight. The intellectual system gives the work structural balance and coherence and also seems to charge it with expressive tension.

Schneider's orchestral pieces end with amusing, jerky rhythms. They have grotesque humour and a jubilant, dancing-like quality. The accordion and the second percussionist enhance the ironically popular play-like quality.

In the slow movement everything comes to a full halt and the music transforms into translucent, statically hovering timbres that exude a slightly spooky atmosphere.


Hannu-Ilari Lampila
(HELSINGIN SANOMAT, 21 September 2009)

Translation: Susan Sinisalo


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