Eötvös: Respond with Staatskapelle Berlin

Eötvös: Respond with Staatskapelle Berlin

The Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös has reworked his 1999 viola concerto Replica to a commission from the Berlin Staatskapelle. In line with the requirements of the covid pandemic, the original's large orchestra was reduced from 49 to 32 and received a musical extension.The Staatskapelle has now given the premiere of this work, titled Respond, with its principal viola Yulia Deyneka and conducted by James Gaffigan. Eötvös has written the piece in close proximity to his opera Tri Sestry, and it is undoubtedly related to that work in its mood. The composer has written: “One of the basic attitudes of the concerto is leave-taking, which refers to the three great farewell scenes that close each of the opera’s three sequences.”

Respond (2021)

Viola solo and 32 musicians
WP: 9.1.2022, Berlin

World premiere of Respond, Berlin


Peter Eötvös fits in surprisingly well between Janáček and Ravel. The 78-year-old Hungarian, in person and warmly applauded on Sunday at the Boulez Hall, comes off as neither especially thorny nor extremely cerebral in his works. Instead, he writes accessible contemporary music with the craftsmanship of a master. In Respond, the Berlin Staatskapelle’s wonderful principal viola Yulia Deyneka must stand up to an overpowering dialogue partner, the orchestra. She does so with aplomb – at times wielding incisive bow strokes – as a strong personality who won’t easily have rhetorical wool pulled over her eyes.
Der Tagesspiegel, 11.01.2022

The music of this master of orchestral colours (at times a synthesis of Bartók and Boulez) is an ideal test for the hall’s acoustics, which it passes with flying colours. In addition to two percussion groups, harp and celesta, Respond for viola pits 14 strings against 14 winds – and it works because somehow the viola sounds like half a string instrument, half a wind instrument. Yulia Deyneka begins with falsetto undulations, signalizing her role as the Staatskapelle’s principal viola. Regardless of all the built-in conflict, her part is ideally woven into the orchestra’s multicoloured web. Particularly beautiful is its binding and unbinding with the bassoon.
Hundert 11 – Konzertgänger in Berlin, 10.01.2022

View score of Respond

Photos: Peter Adamik
Torna indietro