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NITSCH, HERMANN: 6th Sinfonie Allerheiligenkoncert 1980, (dbl CD)
The right amount of nothing approaches everything. Nitsch who is not primarily a composer but a multimedia, event-based artist/MC and former enfant terrible of the Vienna Actionists (with 3 jail terms and a lot of trials, especially in connection with the Orgien Mysterien Theatre events that occupied his last 6 decades (he's 78 now). These events can go on for days and he found he needed appropriate music, but none suitable existed. So he conceived his own - of which this is a fine example: solid, powerful and perfectly pitched, similar to Yves Klein's musical forays in many ways, but sonically broader and more organically measured out in time. It's certainly more than music. Often there's just one (massed) note, sometimes two, but with exquisitely judged timbral depth, constantly changing while going nowhere, or suddenly breaking into heuriger-festival music.. I'm not one for the cerebral minimalism of the last third of C20, but what Nitsch does transcends all that, for me anyway, so I'm an admirer. This double CD gives a good indication of the aesthetic. Amazingly, it's played by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nitsch himself, and it shows what you can make even a trained orchestra do if you have enough charisma and depth of character. Nicely recorded at the Museum of the C20 in Vienna on 1st November 1980. Recommended.