P.Eötvös, WDR Choir & Symphonic Orch., S.Cambreling, A.Grau, G.Schumacher, Pellegrini Qt. Péter Eötvös: IMA

BMCCD085 2003

IMA (Prayer) is a sequel to Péter Eötvös’ Atlantis, composed in 1995: a musical memorial commemorating a culture that, at the zenith of its brightest period, suddenly sank into the sea.


WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln
conducted by Sylvain Cambreling

Andreas Grau - piano
Götz Schumacher - piano

Pellegrini Quartet:
Antonio Pellegrini - violin
Thomas Hofer - violin
Fabio Marano - viola
Helmut Menzler - violoncello

About the album

In association with Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln
Recorded by WDR at Kölner Philharmonie, September 12-13, 2002 (1-3); Funkhaus Wallrafplatz, October 3, 2002 (4);
Studio Stolberger Straße Köln, September 16, 2002 (5-7)
Recording producer: Harry Vogt – Recording supervisor: Stephan Hahn
Sound engineers: Walburga Dahmen, Mark Hohn, Reiner Kühl, Thomas Sehringer
Technique/editing: Walter Platte, Dirk Franken, Irene van Dreyke
Music publisher: Edition Schott Music Mainz (1-3), Edition Salabert Paris (4), Edition Ricordi München (5-7)

Portrait photo: István Huszti
Cover art by Meral Yasar – Design: Meral Yasar – Architect: Bachman

Produced by László Gőz

The recording was sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary


Richard Whitehouse - Gramophone (en)

Grant Chu Covell - La Folia (en)

Diario de Sevilla (es)

S.R. - Scherzo (es)

DK - Crescendo (de)

CD Compact (es)

Laurent Bergnach - Anaclase.com (fr)

Michał Mendyk - Nowa Muzyka (pl)

Porrectus - Muzsika (hu)

Molnár Szabolcs - Gramofon **** (hu)

Csont András - Magyar Narancs ***** (hu)

Albert Mária - Világgazdaság (hu)

3500 HUF 11 EUR

Péter Eötvös: IMA (2001-02) – for mixed choir and orchestra (Text: Sándor Weöres, Gerhard Rühm)

01 I. 8:37
02 II. 7:19
03 III. 11:23

Péter Eötvös:

04 Cosmos (1961/99) – version for two pianos 15:05

Péter Eötvös: Correspondence (1992-93) – scenes for string quartet

05 Scene I. 3:52
06 Scene II. 2:47
07 Scene III. 10:03
Total time 59:06

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IMA (2001-02)

IMA (Prayer) is a sequel to Péter Eötvös’ Atlantis, composed in 1995: a musical memorial commemorating a culture that, at the zenith of its brightest period, suddenly sank into the sea. But while Atlantis gives the impression of a slow exploratory journey into the past and in an underwater world, IMA contemplates the sunken continent from the present.

For the composition of IMA, Péter Eötvös used the verses of two poets, Gerhard Rühm’s poem entitled Gebet, and some lines from Sándor Weöres’ Silent music. Rühm imitates the gesture of prayer, for which he uses a language similar to “that of a litany, recitative chanted in a subdued voice”, as if, in the ancient culture, there existed a prayer addressed to ancient gods in an ancient language. Weöres on his part relates the beginning of the Creation, based on the Bible in a language of his own invention. According to Eötvös – who derives his own world of sound from “the meditative aspect and concentration of the prayers of various cultures” – this sounds like “a Polynesian language with some Latin influence”.

“Ritualism comes naturally to me. Since ritualism is an original form in which gestures and sound appear in absolute unity, I could in effect call all my pieces »ritual«.”

Péter Eötvös

Cosmos (1961/1999)
version for two pianos

On 12 April 1961, Gagarin was the first astronaut to leave the Earth and fly around it in a space capsule. The impact of this event on the then seventeen-year-old Péter Eötvös culminated in the composition of Cosmos, “as with Gagarin’s space flight the world suddenly opened up, appearing infinite” to him.

The piece begins with a musical “Big Bang” followed by the succession of the stages and episodes of the development of the cosmos. The long trill sounded in treble forte is the “oscillating axis of the universe”, continually expanding, then shrinking during the piece. “Comets” break through musical space, accompanied by chords evoking constellations and descending “asteroid-scales”. A “space-ship floating between solar systems” passes before us, then the music becomes entangled in a “cloud of meteorites”.

Eötvös breaks off the space journey twice, interspersing his music with short passages from Bartók’s The night’s music. Finally, the certitude of transience conquers even cosmic perpetuity – the piece ends a quarter of a second before the next “Big Bang”.

“Humour is present in all my compositions. It is a certain kind of world view, a special outlook upon life. In tragic, dramatic moments humor can mean survival. It is an attitude, a mode of behavour that can be found in the works of Shakespeare and Beckett for example. I feel that it is present in every moment of my life as well.”

Péter Eötvös

Correspondence (1992-93)
for string quartet

This string quartet reproduces the dramatic relations between Leopold Mozart, living in Salzburg, and his son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in 1778 living in Paris, through excerpts from their correspondence.

The instruments of the string quartet are sounded as if they were “conducting conversations”.

The emotional tension of the writing and reading of the letters, the words, the thoughts, the ulterior motives, the lurking doubts are all dramatized. The appended text will aid the listener in understanding and following more easily and precisely the quickly developing and complexly unfolding events.

Scene 1.

Wolfgang: Dear Father! It really isn’t my fault – as you know full well...

Leopold: Son! You always act hot-headedly, impetuously in everything you do! Since you’ve grown, your nature has changed. – The greatest art is for one to know oneself...

Wolfgang: ...and then – as you very well know – I turn sulky as soon as I have to write music for an instrument I am not overfond of...

Leopold: ...then, son, do as I do!

Wolfgang: My whole empire is in Paris!

Leopold: ...with as little delay as possible! The mere thought of seeing Paris should have saved you from all your caprices! Fame begins in Paris!

Wolfgang: ...and now, praise be to God, we are here at last. “Oh, oui, Monsieur, vous avez raison...” (Yes, Sir, you are right...)

Leopold: “...mais personne ne peut remplacer un pere...” (...but no one can take the place of a father...)

Scene 2.

Wolfgang: ...here, too, I have my enemies.

Leopold: “...je crois Votre Fils d’une conduite assez...” (...I find your son’s behaviour rather...)

Wolfgang: ...it is a good sign. I...

Leopold: “...pas redouter pour lui les dangers de Paris...” (...in his case, no need to fear the dangers of Paris...)

Wolfgang: ...if there were a single corner here where people had ears...

Leopold: “...s’il était inclin au libertinage...”(...if he were inclined to dissipation...) Rudolph offered you the position of organist at Versailles? Does it depend upon him, then?

Wolfgang: ...but I don’t think I’ll accept it...

Leopold: You shouldn’t pass up this opportunity so precipitately. You must...

Wolfgang: This way, however, I am surrounded by brutes and imbeciles (at least as far as music is concerned). How could it be otherwise, they are all...

Scene 3.

Wolfgang: ...that, you, my dear Father, and my dearest little sister are both well – that I am an honest German, and if I am not allowed to speak my mind, at least I can think what I like...That...my mother is going to die, that she must die...

Leopold: Almighty, benevolent God! Thy will be done...

Wolfgang: Enjoying by then the blessings of heaven...

Leopold: Dear son!...but why on a Saturday, of all days?...

“My love of the theatre pervades my entire life. Everything I do is closely connected with the theatre. Creating a kind of »theatre« with the aid of music is the aim that is always in my mind.”

Péter Eötvös

Péter Eötvös was born at Székelyudvarhely in 1944.
1958 Admitted to the Academy of Music in Budapest on the recommendation of Zoltán Kodály, to major in composition.
1966-68 Studied conducting at the Music College of Cologne on a DAAD scholarship.

1968-76 Member of the Stockhausen Ensemble.
1971-78 Member of the WDR Electronic Studio.
1979-91 Music director of the Parisian Ensemble InterContemporain.
1985-88 First guest conductor of the BBC Symphonic Orchestra in London.

1991 Founded the International Eötvös Institute for young conductors and composers.

Since 1994 he has been the leading conductor of the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra.
He has received several international and Hungarian prizes and awards (among others: Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Bartók-Pásztory Prize, Kossuth Prize). All his compositions have been released on CD by BMC, DGG, Bis, Kairos, ECM and col legno.

“Composing and conducting is the selfsame occupation viewed from two sides: one is constructive, creative, the other is performing, re-creative work. My manner of thinking as a composer feeds on my experience as a performer.”

Péter Eötvös


a a u
e e o i

a da hu
e de bo i
da ha u
de e do bi
ba ba u
be be o ni
na a bu
me he so mi
ma ma su
e ne so ji
sa sa ju
je e ho di
ga ja gu
e ge do i
a na nu
ne he go gi
wa da du
we we o wi
sa ha wu
e se mo hi
a sa hu
me me wo i
na na mu
se de no si
a na u
e de jo i
a a nu
e de o i
a a u
e e o i

Gerhard Rühm

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