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Page Anchors

Ekstasis
Collide
Mephisto
Attack / Duo
Dead Songs
Barcarole
Calling Music
Stick Dance III
Respiro/Simple...
Susp. Preludes
Devil's Music
Circle Ground
Chorale, Demon..
Diver's Lament
Violin Concerto
12 Variations
Data es Lux
Winter Ground
Tempore Stellae

Excerpts from Selected Reviews (works composed 1990–99)

Ekstasis (1990)
"The second new work was Ekstasis (1990) by Andrew Schultz and here was originality indeed, with a multitude of anguished, increasingly urgent and complex sounds emerging from a silence that itself added a dimension, finally sinking into calm. This was ecstasy in a sensual, sexual sense, musically transcribed."
[Fred Blanks, Sydney Morning Herald]

“Andrew Schultz’s Ekstasis, from the Song of Songs, with its skilful elevation of dissonance to express emotional agony, was very powerful.”
[William Pearce, The Examiner]

"Ekstasis, using lines from the biblical Song of Songs, is an earlier less ingratiating work of writhing, sometimes brutal sensuality, emphasizing dissonant convulsive pain (reminiscent of Messian’s Cinq Rechant)."
[Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 11-12 October 2008]

“Of all the books included in the Bible, Song of Songs is perhaps the most astonishing given the erotic nature of its poetry.

Yet this collection of love poems, dating from as early as the 10th-century BC, was retained in the scriptural canon despite its profane content and its presence rationalised by interpreting the book as an allegory of the love of Christ for his Church.

Such a view was further embellished by later theologians: for medieval Europeans, it referred to the Virgin Mary while Reformation clerics saw it as a valuable metaphor for conjugal fidelity.

These traditions are variously captured in musical settings that range from the chaste to the highly-charged eroticism celebrated from a 20th-century perspective on the text. The Song Company's investigation of this repertoire yields a program of considerable diversity, and is delivered with consummate skill.

Beloved by Stephen Adams and Ekstasis by Andrew Schultz both offered arresting accounts of the joys and pains of love.”
[David Vance, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 March 2004]


Collide (1990, rev. 1998) (back to top)
“And speaking about interesting: listen to the longest work on the CD - Schultz’s Collide. There will be not one single moment of boredom. The piece has been written in a variation form and the strong theme gets your full attention immediately. Attention which is aroused every time again with every new variation. In short, the piece and its especially fascinating rhythms will make you sit on the edge of your seat. Extremely well played [by Duo Contemporain] by the way.” [Erica de Wijs, De Klarinet]

“Andrew Schultz’s revised and cut version of Collide features incredible mallet technique from Bernat. This rhythmically complex and technically difficult fourteen minute marathon in one movement is enviably a polished performance…The work itself germinates and builds to a very powerful ending.” [Diana Tolmie, Australian Clarinet, October 1999]

“Mephisto” (1990) (back to top)
“Schultz asks for quotation marks around the title of his “Mephisto” to acknowledge the resonances set up by its references to a legend so variously familiar. The performances [by Perihelion] are strong and vital; the music is remarkable." [Roger Covell, SMH]

“ a highly suggestive and expansive septet . . . worth hearing again.” [Clive O’Connell, The Age, 26 August 1991]

Attack and Duo Variations (1990) (back to top)
“two typically skilful and bumpily arresting scores” [Roger Covell, 23/2/1998, SMH]

Dead Songs (1991) (back to top)
"Schultz's Dead Songs cycle, set to texts drawn from gravestone inscriptions in seaside cemeteries, is a work of art of a high order, adroitly shaped to...lead to an ending of universal resonance. Its first performance...affirmed the creative poise of a composer who feels sufficient confidence in his own judgement to write not a single note more than is absolutely necessary....[A] vital, spellbinding experience." [Roger Covell, Sydney Morning Herald]

“Andrew Schultz is another young composer who writes music of substance and expression. His Dead Songs is a long, complex, and very satisfying setting of adaptations of epitaphs seen at seaside cemeteries in New South Wales. Scored for soprano, clarinet, cello, and piano, it is tightly composed and expressively executed.” [HICKEN, “The Newest Music,” American Record Guide 60:1 (January-February 1997) p.245]

“a stunning and ecstatic unaccompanied reverie,…set the scene for a remarkable performance. Schultz’s trademark glissandi were combined with virtuosic passages to make this a veritable tour de force.” [Neil Mason, The Courier Mail, 17/11/1993]

Barcarole (1992) (back to top)
“Wrought, and very effective . . . and truly melancholy, not an ascription one can often make to any recent music, let alone a miniature.”
[Chris Dench, Sounds Australian]

"Barcarole for prepared piano (played by Stephen Emmerson) has a sinister side to it, perhaps this is the lost grandson of Liszt's lugubre gondola? It's very disturbing and unnerving, like those things which go bump in the night (or maybe you just misheard a floorboard creaking)."
[Bob Briggs, Music Web International, September 2008]


Calling Music: Contrafactum I (1992) (back to top)
“In his Calling Music, Schultz uses the trio “Soave sia il vento”, from Cosi fan tutte, to punctuate his comment on death. Its gentle opening using wind chimes creates a mystical effect, and much of the piece sustains that spirit throughout. Most appealing are the muted and converging tones. The oboe soliloquy was haunting, but evolved into a small contrapuntal exchange between oboe, bassoon and flute. …the work is a powerful, elegaic statement.” [Barry Walmsley, The Newcastle Herald, 19/9/1992]

“The work begins quietly with percussion and winds producing sounds which are redolent of bush breezes and coo-ees. When the strings enter they are high and soft but the violas and cellos soon introduce a little two-note figure which is the essential structural element of the rest of the music. The composer fore-warned us in his program annotation that this is a contrafactum – literally a vocal piece with a new text substituted but here, rather, it is influnced by other music, namely the sighing Trio, “Soave sia il vento” from Cosi.” [John Carmody, Sun-Herald]

Stick Dance III (1992) (back to top)
"The recital of the Zanfonia trio was technically impressive. Andrew Schultz's Stick Dance III was an enjoyable and humourous adventure in 'tribal' dissonance and rhythm." [Edward Dudley Hughes, "Performance Reviews, March 1993," The Musical Times, Vol 134, No 1801, p.163]

Respiro/Simple Ground (1993) (back to top)
"Respiro/Simple Ground for flute and piano (played by Tim Munro and Bernard Lanskey) is a true virtuoso work. Is it a race? A dance? A ritual perhaps? It's all of these things and none of them. In its free form it's liberated from all definitions. Listen to it simply as an attractive, colourful duet for one of the most melodic of instruments in constant discourse with the keyboard, for that, in essence, is what it is. The long coda is especially beautiful, flecks of sound from both instruments, constantly coming to rest before taking off again, but more tired each time, culminating in the exhalation of breath – the most natural of sounds."
[Bob Briggs, Music Web International, September 2008]

"So thanks to Schultz for pushing the finite a little further…His flute does of course sound akin to other flutes, but Schultz sets it to music of his own, and uses it to make a sharply attractive entry into this generous compilation of contemporary music…Schultz moves like quicksilver from one instrument to another, from an energetic mood to a pensive one, never dwelling in one spot long enough to lose the sense of the unexpected."
[Phil Vendy, Fine Music, November 2008]


Suspended Preludes (1993) (back to top)
"The Suspended Preludes for double bass and ever–so slightly prepared piano (played by Steve Reeves and Stephen Emmerson) uses a full palette of sounds, from the usual to vigorous tapping inside the piano, and there’s everything from quiet and meditative to fast and violent."
[Bob Briggs, Music Web International, September 2008]


The Devil’s Music: Contrafactum II (1993) (back to top)
“This is really a 22-minute concerto for orchestra, in a colouristic rather than formal sense. It spares no orchestral expense…But it is courageous, exuberant, instrumentally knowledgeable. For its composer it must be a major milestone.” [Fred Blanks, SMH]


Circle Ground – Septet No. 2 (1995) (back to top)

“Andrew Schultz’s Septet No. 2 - Circle Ground - begins with widely spread piano chords over which a spare long-note melody is picked out with soft muted strings providing extra warmth to the harmonic bed. Flute then clarinet join like creatures gathering at a quiet place, the clarinet swooping down like a bird.

The harmonic world has a traditional reliance on low bass and upper resonance, yet it is infused with gentle lapping expectancy. After a small cello cadenza, the music breaks into dance-like patterns before pulling back for sparser intensity and a denouement that makes a nod back to the piano's opening textures.

In developing a personal harmonic language, Schultz wrestles with the perennial problem of creating a vocabulary of chords that have a freshness and serendipitous expressive potential but also coherence and order, not just indiscriminate subjectivity. These forces come together in Circle Ground, a work of distinctive colour, thoughtful reserve and quiet radiance.”
[Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May 2010]

“The fourth concert by the Conservatory’s New Music Ensemble was the longest in its ongoing series, but one touched by an uncanny symmetry. One initially wondered what contemporary composers like Singapore’s Phoon Yew Tien, Luciano Berio, Andrew Schultz, Liza Lim and Brett Dean had in common. However as the programme unfolded, and with ears opened like never before, the logic of sound and sense soon became apparent.

Luciano Berio’s Chemins II was an expansion of his iconic Sequenza VI (1967) for solo viola. A highly virtuosic work, it is a study in repetition, with its multiple short variations constantly resonating and evolving without remission…Phoon Yew Tien’s Variants On Kuan San Yue (1988, revised 2008) worked on a similar principal, but with an ancient Chinese melody deconstructed and distributed to different instrumental parts and groups…Between these was Australian Andrew Schultz’s Septet No.2: Circle Ground (1995), which had the most reassuring tonal allure, one recalling minimalist and New Age idioms.”
[Chang Tuo Laing, The Straits Times – Singapore, 7 April 2009]


Chorale, Demon, Beacon (1995) (back to top)
“Rich in striking ideas” [Peter McCallum, SMH]


Diver’s Lament (1996) (back to top)
It “begins with flamboyant polyphony for brass, eventually the timbre changes abruptly to the distant tintinnabulations of Chinese temple gongs. . . Its conclusion is as hushed as the opening is swaggering…I’d certainly welcome hearing it again.” [John Carmody, Sun Herald]


Violin Concerto (1996) (back to top)
“Cast in two movements, the concerto is ambitious – and successful – in its attempt to pit the solo line against orchestral textures which constantly change and shimmer, sometimes sounding like a resonating carillon…or a large organ in the vast reaches of a mighty cathedral.”
[David Bollard, Music Forum, Summer 2011.]

“Like Endling the first movement proceeds at an evolutionary petal-unfolding gait with the violin singing likewise. The music effervesces slowly and the Silvestrov-like carillon bubbling is unhurried….The violin gently continues to soar. The second movement is animated with iterations of bell fanfares from the brass and Hovhaness-like groans before the violin enters with a fast pulse and slippery virtuosity locked into the harmonies of the first movement…Schultz's magnetic pull is towards the pensive. So it proves with a final page that glows steadily and in which the solo and orchestral strings whisper into silence.”
[Rob Barnett, Music Web International, October 2011.]

“If the association with film music is hinted at in “Endling”, in the two-part violin concerto it is tangible. In Schultz’ case, this does not mean that his compositions can only be associated with (real) films in order to be apprehended: the works themselves are musical films that do not require illustration but are instead, in terms of their sound qualities, both figurative and sensual. In this sense they touch upon the music of the great Latvian (Vasks), whose work similarly engages the large and existential themes of love, nature, belief, longing, hope, life and death with emotion, spontaneity, directness, without fear of drawing upon ‘already used’ tonality and harmony. One can place Schultz’ violin concerto, that had to wait fifteen years to be transferred to CD, in a line of very great works that have been written for this instrument in recent years: “Distant Light” by Peteris Vasks, “Concentric Path” by Thomas Adès or “1001 Nights in the Harem” by Fazil Say.

Schultz’ violin concerto begins with a lengthy movement titled “Chorale Expansive”. Like languorous waves, the music surges forth, retreats, and surges forth again, continuing in this fashion. This is music for eternity. The composer links the concerto with a poem by the English romantic William Butler Yeats that also recalls Goethe’s phrasing in Faust: “formation, transformation,
the eternal mind’s eternal recreation”. The second movement “Dances: Fast and Vibrant” is rhythmic, exuberant and rollicking and provides, as it were, the antithesis to the foregone “Chorale”. At its end, the music returns once more to the quiet waterways of the first movement.” [Burkhard Schäfer, blog.codaex.de]

Schultz “is, in my opinion, one of the finest composers in this country today. The music is well-crafted in a modern idiom which is pleasing to the ear.

Violin Concerto... is a work of tender lyricism and dramatic power … In two movements, the first is the slow movement titled Chorale with a hymn-like chordal structure alternating with long melodic lines. The second movement, Dance, is in direct contrast with fast, exuberant rhythms which give a feeling of joy and exultation. Double-stopping and drone techniques are employed by the violin and the rhythmic energy is explained by Schultz as ‘possibly influenced by the rich world of folk-style-violin playing’.” [Elaine Siversen, Fine Music, July 2012.]

In ”his Violin Concerto, the solo violin floats over elegiac and expansive orchestral music. Schultz's careful attention to detail with the orchestration creates a wonderfully unique atmosphere.” [Off Topic'd - A personal view of technology, the arts, and culture, April 2014.]

“J'aime plutôt beaucoup ...en plus les images superbes ne gachent rien: un ensemble impressionnant dans le premier et des payasages sublimes avec le cto pour violon…
Ans ce cas, les compositeurs australiens sont faits pour te plaire, compositeurs davantage inspirés par leur environnement que par l'avant-gardisme européen, même s'ils l'ont étudié et digéré...
Un joli moment passé à l'écoute du concerto pour violon d'Andrew Schultz, que ce soit avec le premier mouvement qui est assez envoûtant et le second et dernier, plus enlevé et entraînant, qui dépasse les 20 minutes. Il n'est pas de ces oeuvres qui vont me mettre la larme à l'oeil, mais j'aime bien la fluidité du récit musical, le son chaleureux du violon solo porté par Jennifer Pike, dans un jeu passionné et virtuose surtout lors de la seconde partie, lorsqu'il se superpose par exemple au motif mélodique facilement mémorisable et autour duquel l'orchestre s'articule. La danse s'anime alors dans une énergie contagieuse. Un voyage harmonieux et attachant.” [“Mélomane aventurier”, Musique Classique, May and December 2014.]

“This is my first listen to this piece, and overall I'd call it radiant, it has this sense of nature and warmth. I noticed a couple of links between the two movements in terms of texture and melody. The first is a chorale that ends like a hymn and the second is a very energetic dance, which had shades of folk music (drones), jazz (the brassy bits), the chorale theme and percussive elements returning from the start of the concerto.”
[Sid James, “Violin Concerto,” Talk Classical, 20 September 2014.]


12 Variations (1997) (back to top)
“The expression marking which opens Australian composer Andrew Schultz' 12 Variations is borrowed from Beethoven's Op. 109. Mr Schultz translates it as "Song-like, with inner feeling." 12 Variations is atmospheric, expressive, and personal. Its demand for the exploration of sonorous and expansive piano textures is fully suited to the ambience and palette of Mr Emmerson's and Mr Lanskey's partnership. Their performance of this perpetuum mobile of piano texture is one that is commanding, sensitive, hypnotic, and remarkable for its range of textural sonority. And there is an additional accomplishment that must not be underestimated. On learning that Mr Schultz' writing entails the interweaving of the duettists' hands, this is a performance I appreciated immensely. Now I'd like to see it as well."
[Sarah Grunstein, "The Inner Line", MCA Music Forum 8/2, December-January 2002, 40-41.]

"Adelaide-born composer Andrew Schultz has impressive credentials, having collaborated at times with George Crumb and Luciano Berio and producing several large-scale works to impressive reviews. But it is his more intimate chamber music which is the focus of a Tall Poppies series and the second volume, Suspended Preludes has just been released. The works cover the 1990s and early part of the millennium and feature a wide sweep of styles, instrumentation and moods... Schultz writes accessible but thought-provoking music, sometimes with a fond backward glance (he's a great admirer of Bach and uses his Sleepers Wake cantata for the basis of one of his piano pieces). Being a teacher of clarinet that instrument features widely, with Paul Dean joining violinist Michele Walsh and pianist Stephen Emmerson in the exciting Stick Dance. Barcarole is a fine short piece for piano and Emmerson is joined by Bernard Lanskey for 12 Variations, one of the standout tracks."
[Steve Moffatt, The Glebe, 18 September 2008]


Data es Lux (1997) (back to top)
“I call Andrew Schultz's Data es Lux (Light is given) mother-rejecting for the way its text kept cycling back on the misfortune of being born. For me the most interesting choral textures came in the final piece where Schultz indulged his skill for acerbic harmony which spreads over the texture like a growing halting awareness.” [Peter McCallum, SMH]


Winter Ground (1997) (back to top)
"Andrew Schultz's Winter Ground for solo vibraphone filled the hall with its icy harmonies."
[Harriet Cunningham, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/8/2005]

"Schultz's Winter Ground (12’05”) for solo vibraphone is palpably reflective, establishing an ambiguous emotional state and working it over and over, winding and entwining, growing denser by accrual, expanding from a narrow note range into a stream of consciousness reverie with just enough of a rhythmic anchor to keep the work sensually engaging, often quite beautiful, right to the final residue of the repeated ringing of a single note. Something has been completed.”
[RealTime Arts Magazine, October-November 2007]

“With Andrew Schultz’ Winter Ground we return to the vibraphone, this time with more of an ethereal, sustained feel. Schultz actually uses the vibrato function of the instrument, which is quite refreshing to hear, and the piece is far from being vaguely atmospheric, with a set of variations exploring timbre and contrapuntal technique in some depth.”
[Dominy Clements, Music Web International, 2007]

"Andrew Schultz's extended work, Winter Ground, is emotionally remote without bleakness."
[Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 29-30 December 2007]

"Listening to this in my warm study, by a window looking out at wintry York on one of its very few brilliantly sunny days, seems entirely appropriate... The vaguely mechanistic music with which this piece starts intimates, if not the claustrophobia, then the closesness of being in an interior space…There is a subtle understatement here that is captivating."
[Michael Hooper, MCA Music Forum, February-April 2008]


In Tempore Stellae (1998) (back to top)
"In tempore stellae uses a wide range of texts ranging from the Bible to modern poetry, to portray chaos and creation, human sensuality and the exhilaration of flight.

Schultz agrees that by composing a symphony for voices, he is, to some extent, following the precedent Mahler set with his 8th Symphony and The Song of the Earth. Like Mahler, he has drawn on texts with personal resonance. The theme - our relation to the stars - is profoundly philosophical. But while he has set texts that speak of God, Schultz insists the work is humanist, not religious. The son of a clergyman, he maintains his own attitude to religion is "far too complicated to describe".

Although not yet 40, the Adelaide-born composer's prolific and widely acclaimed output has earned him his current position as Head of Music Studies and Composition at London's Guildhall School of Music. Since 1978 he has written chamber works, orchestral and instrumental miniatures, a concerto, and the prize-winning opera Black River, later filmed. All this, and yet In tempore stellae is his first symphony.

"I've waited to do it in a way that said something to me; it needed to be on a substantial scale so as to deal with some humanist-philosophical elements," he says, adding that he has several pieces which "might have turned into a symphony", but never truly satisfied his need.

The perfect moment came in 1995, when Schultz received a commission for a large-scale choral and orchestral work from the Melbourne Chorale with the backing of Arts Victoria. At first, he says, he planned to base the whole work on sensuous Asian poetry. But when Peter Greenaway's film, The Pillow Book was released in 1996, he returned to an idea that had taken root 10 years earlier when he saw the aviators' war memorial in York Minster.

The memorial was an astronomical clock. The otherness of "time outside the normal way we measure things", of man's struggle to understand and explore the universe took hold, and finally flowered as a three-movement symphony.

The work opens with a percussive sound that represents the clacking of an airport arrivals and departures board. "This is both mechanical and intensely personal," he says, explaining that the signals are not only public announcements but also private messages to individuals flying from or about to meet somebody. The text is a real test for the sopranos; they must list the celestial bodies, using both scientific and popular names.

Each movement offers opportunities for powerful expression. Chaos into order in the first, elemental conquest in the third - "a joined imagery of the joy of flight mixed with the destruction of war" says Schultz.

In contrast to the opening and closing movements, the middle movement expresses some of the most sensual poetry in music since Richard Strauss's opera Salome. Seductive solo voices emerge from a miasma of choral murmurings. Sandwiched between two Japanese pillow book texts to an excerpt from one of David Malouf's love poems. Malouf's poetry, says Schultz, is the Australian connection in a more universal work.

The music is pervaded by a sense of wonder and insignificance inspired by a star-filled sky. Schultz laughs when I suggest this is a memory of Australia. "I think I've hardly seen the stars for 18 months since moving here," he says. He recalls growing up in a family required to move around Australia to follow his father's calling.

"The experience of being in the Northern Territory, watching the stars and even the satellites move across the sky was so extraordinary . stars seem so large when you're in the outback."

Many critics have noted that much of Schultz' writing has a power to communicate with the listener in an almost visceral sense. He had once said he clings to "the knowledge that music has the power to strike the listener dumb with terror or grief and open inner worlds of astounding beauty". Will we experience this today? He laughs. "I'm sure you will."
[Andrew Scott, The Sunday Age, 06/12/98]

“This is a large, three movement work for two sopranos, choir and orchestra. The focus is a quasi-spiritual one, in as much as it is about “the duality of the inspiring vastness of space and time, against the frail but grim determination of human suffering.” . . . . There was certainly to be found a vastness in the music, particularly in the first two movements. It reminded me in scope of Arvo Part’s drawn-out sense of atmospheric space. … highly effective orchestration and the varying musical componenets for the soloists.” [Joel Crotty, The Age, 8 December 1998]

 

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