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Michael Hersch: Chamber Music

Michael Hersch: Chamber Music

Label: Vanguard Classics (ATM-CD-1240)
String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic
Michael Hersch, piano
Release Date: 2003



"The disc, titled "Michael Hersch: Chamber Music," features Hersch himself on piano as well as string soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic. The disc's highlight is probably a vast octet for strings in 11 movements that lasts half an hour and seems an encyclopedic exploration of deepest darkness, shot through with anxious energy. A "Recordatio" for solo piano was inspired by the death of Luciano Berio, one of many diverse and extraordinary older composers (George Rochberg and Hans Werner Henze are two others) who have recognized and encouraged Hersch's melancholy genius. These are remarkably original and assured pieces -- best of all, Hersch, still in his early thirties, may just be getting started."
— The Washington Post (2004)

"... austere and uncompromising. What attracts the ear, and keeps it engaged, is Hersch’s acute ear for harmony. This manifests itself not only in the colours of the sounds themselves – but also in the way that glimmers of tonality emerge at key locations in a largely atonal landscape. But, then, Hersch clearly has an innate dramatic sensibility. His Octet is spread over 11 distinctly characterised movements (and at 31 minutes the largest work here), yet how inexorably it moves. The climax is placed in the 10th movement (and, interestingly, the dramatic shape of this movement appears to be a condensation of the work’s larger structure), while the final movement (a reprise of the second) serves as an anguished, angry and strangely familiar sounding epitaph. The effect is devastating."
— Gramophone Magazine

“With Hersch, you hear a sincere, emotionally raw voice with every utterance – often a harrowing experience. ... urgent, commanding, able to communicate without shouting and without cliche.”
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“This is a powerful, engaging, and most auspicious debut.”
— Strings Magazine