Reviews

Violin Concerto (1996)

“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]