In nuce

B.A.Zimmermann: Early Orchestral Works                   WERGO 6656 2

Text: Peter Hirsch

Essentially, Bernd Alois Zimmermann is a composer who falls between all stools and outside all trends. The years he lost as a young man in the war separated him from the generation which was only a few years younger. One reads that the post-war years were for him a time of transition und upheaval; terms which always suggest something unfinished or unachieved. Transition toward what? And from where? From the war to his „late works“?
    In all four compositions from the 1950s included here there can be found something two-sided, Janus-like, a conscious dialectical coupling of elements which are heterogeneous and unsynchronized with an additional sense of „on the one hand- on the other hand“. Bridges are set up between tradition and innovation, so-called serious music and entertainment music, form and ecstasy. Zimmermann‘s Kugelgestalt (Tr. note: this term refers to Zimmermann‘s mystical sense of time ...moving both foreward and backwards; in fact a simultaneity of past, present and future.) also describes the interior of his consciousness. The complexity of his awareness of the world anticipated experiences which are common to us today in the age of the ever-present and always accessible modern media. A seismographically sensitive, unprejudiced view of things give his music the impression of a permanent present tense with no prospect of a happy future.
    Plunge into the bottomless pit. Nobody knows the abyss I see.

(English translation: J.P.Thomas and W.R. Rieves)