Zimmermann: Violin Concerto; Photoptosis; Die Soldaten

Reviewed on Thu 21 Mar, 2019

Shot through with allusions to myriad others, 1968’s Photoptosis is an exhilarating exercise in collage prompted by Yves Klein’s blue-saturated paintings.

Forged in 1950 as post-war relief gave way to the prospect of nuclear annihilation, Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto is a formidable response to the existential madness resulting from political chaos. Brooding, baleful, angry, agitated and driven along by a raging dyspepsia, in Leila Josefowicz’s animated hands it pulses with all the dangerous combustibility of a radioactive isotope. Shot through with allusions to myriad others, 1968’s Photoptosis is an exhilarating exercise in collage prompted by Yves Klein’s blue-saturated paintings in which the warp and weft of a densely woven tapestry constantly re-threads itself with increasingly violent vehemence. Even allowing for its echoes of Berg, the substantial ‘vocal symphony’ drawn from Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten in 1963 has an excoriating force all its own, albeit never quite shaking off the feeling of being a collection of loosely connected cues. Anu Komsi’s alert, intense Marie and Juha Uusitalo’s Uncle grab the attention, as does impeccably forthright playing throughout from Hannu Lintu’s exemplary Finnish Radio forces.
–Michael Quinn