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FastNotes

  • In ancient Egyptian mythology, the deity Osiris was torn apart by his brother Set and the pieces of his body scattered up and down the Nile. Osiris’ wife (and sister) Isis searched for them, sewed them back together, and reanimated Osiris by the power of her love.
  • “For me as a composer, formally speaking it is very interesting to present little objects – pieces of sound – separately and what they sound like as a whole,” Pintscher says.
  • Violence is implicit from the very beginning of the piece, in music of glittering, jagged edges. This shatters into its components, and the rebuilding process begins, culminating in a new/old music.

Composed: 2005
Length: c. 7 minutes
Orchestration: 3 flutes (2nd & 3rd = piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet (= contrabass clarinet), 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bell plates, bongo drums, chimes, claves, crotales, flexatone, glockenspiel, guiro, maracas, marimbaphone, sandpaper blocks, shell chimes, snare drum, suspended cymbals, tam-tams, temple blocks, Thai nipple gongs, tom-toms, triangle, vibraphone, woodblocks, xylophone), 2 harps, piano, celesta, and strings

First Los Angeles Philharmonic performances (West Coast premiere)

Pintscher’s inspiration was first directed toward the Osiris myth by a 1970 work by the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), a group of cardboard sewing patterns (from an earlier work) on an otherwise blank canvas, which Beuys called Osiris. The ancient Egyptian deity Osiris was torn apart by his brother Set and the pieces of his body scattered up and down the Nile. Osiris’ wife (and sister) Isis searched for them, sewed them back together, and reanimated Osiris by the power of her love.

 “For me as a composer, formally speaking it is very interesting to present little objects – pieces of sound – separately and what they sound like as a whole,” Pintscher says. “So you have a totality of sound, which is destroyed, falls apart into individual objects. You see the individual objects and then they are recombined... but they are not the same.”

Pintscher makes this process of fragmentation, collection, and metamorphosis quite apprehendable in towards Osiris. Violence is implicit from the very beginning, in music of glittering, jagged edges. This shatters into its components, and the rebuilding process begins, culminating in a new/old music, reinvigorated but haunted by the destructive process.

towards Osiris was premiered by Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker in March 2006.  

— John Henken