Boomkat Product Review:
Controversial avant-garde legend Hermann Nitsch celebrates his homeland on "Weinviertel Sinfonie", a dense 80-minute orchestral production that's inspired by the landscape of Austria's wine country.
This one's special. "Weinviertel Sinfonie" was recorded last year at the Nitsch Museum in Mistelbach, and performed by Vienna's Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Michael Mautner, the performance was attended by Nitsch himself - who sadly died earlier this year - and according to a report he would occasionally take over from Mautner while sipping wine. The long piece is something of a departure for the notorious composer, who is best known for his supposedly heretical, ritualistic art that took influence from the Marquis de Sade and Sigmund Freud and used blood and animal carcasses to provoke disgust in the audience. On "Weinviertel Sinfonie", Nitsch instead takes the opportunity to memorialize the countryside where he lived, in Austria's "wine country".
He does this by writing for 27 string players, who create a dense racket that swerves from unsettling dissonance to rich harmony in an attempt to mimic the landscape's features: birds, wind, hills and trees. As is to be expected from the composer, "Weinviertel Sinfonie" is an uncompromising piece of work that's challenging - both in its duration and its actual sound - but rewarding. The expected Nitsch-ian sense of disgust and terror isn't from any kind of stage theatrics, but the composer is able to provoke a reaction in a different way, dragging us through his psyche and scraping our brains against his studied deconstructions of baroque and avant minimalist composition. By the time we hit the set's 13-minute finale, it's a cathartic pay-off that's often characterized Nitsch's work - an almost tear-inducing, romantic reflection of the gorgeous Austrian countryside.