Press Room

Michael Hersch: end stages, Violin Concerto Is Now Available on New Focus Recordings

Now available on New Focus Recordings, Michael Hersch: end stages, Violin Concerto presents the world premiere recordings of two important recent works by Michael Hersch, “a natural musical genius who continues to surpass himself” (Washington Post). The new release couples the composer’s orchestral piece End Stages (2016), performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with his Violin Concerto (2015), for which soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja – an “endlessly intelligent and provocative violinist” (New York Times) – joins the International Contemporary Ensemble under the baton of regular Hersch collaborator Tito Muñoz.

Both works underscore Hersch’s reputation as “one of the most prominent composers in the country, [who] writes masterly modernist music of implacabl seriousness” (New Yorker). According to violinist Kopatchinskaja, for whom the Violin Concerto was written, the formidably difficult work is as raw as an “an open wound.” She explains:

“[The music] is so convincing, … moves me so deeply, makes me speechless, tolerates neither doubt nor objection. It is like a mountain one can’t ignore. … Everything is crystal clear, there is no decoration, no superficial beauty, no compromises. Everything is exactly in place, has found its perfect form.”

It was Kopatchinskaja who gave the concerto its first performance in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and its West Coast premiere at the Ojai Music Festival, where Hersch was this summer’s composer-in-residence.

Likewise it was the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra that commissioned and premiered End Stages, a large-ensemble piece for which Hersch partnered with visual artist Kevin Tuttle, whose drawings of human bodies in the throes of terminal illness frame its powerful engagement with the realities of dying. When Orpheus reprised End Stages at Carnegie Hall last February, the performance was named one of the week’s “Best Moments in Classical Music” by the New York Times, which found in Hersch’s work “what seemed a touching glimpse of the suffering soul itself.” As New York magazine has put it: “Hersch is so sincere in his darkness, and so sophisticated in his expressivity, that he can make the morbid magical.”

For more information about Michael Hersch: end stages, Violin Concerto, click here.

Michael Hersch: end stages, Violin Concerto

Label: New Focus Recordings
Catalog number: FCR208
UPC code: 655646189208
Release date: July 6, 2018

 Michael Hersch: Violin Concerto
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin
International Contemporary Ensemble
Tito Muñoz, conductor

Michael Hersch: end stages
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, July 2018

Return to Press Room