On 2 January 2019, Péter Eötvös celebrated his 75th birthday. In connection with this anniversary, András Surányi has created a portrait film about the artist, although it is not easy to determine exactly what genre the film falls under. This is because it does not set about to create a traditional portrait: the film does not relate the entire arc of Eötvös’s career, from his early work with theatre and film music and his experimental output all the way to the time he spent with the ensembles of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez and his more recent history as a composer of grand operas and orchestral compositions. If it were not a mixed metaphor, we would call the film a moving snapshot. It documents where his dazzling career as a composer and conductor stands in 2019, and what issues and tasks excite Eötvös at this point. Sharing their thoughts in the film are the composer’s musical colleagues (including Isabelle Faust, György Kurtág Jr. and Miklós Lukács) and, of course first and foremost, Eötvös himself. We could say that we are getting a glimpse into the composer’s ‘sorceror’s workshop’, except the film clearly shows that Eötvös does not consider himself to be a magician with powers of sorcery (to which, of course, one must add that he is well aware of the nature of witchcraft, as one can clearly see from his opera Love and Other Demons). Eötvös’s thinking is much more reminiscent of that of a natural scientist: he is primarily excited by interconnections of sound, formal proportions and questions of structure. No matter what kind of cathartic emotional effects his works generate, their creator is in reality a remarkable extraordinarily profound and precise intellect who is endlessly dedicated to the craft of composing music.
/Gergely Fazekas/

2020-10-28T20:45:07+01:00
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