Georges Lentz - Works for Orchestra / by Doyle Armbrust

The first thing listeners should know about Georges Lentz is that his entire compositional oeuvre is rooted in an existential fear of the sheer magnitude of the universe. That’s right, NASA junkies, you’ve found your composer. The Luxembourg native’s ongoing Caeli enarrant… (“The heavens declare…”) project includes works for prepared piano and string quartet among others, but two orchestral pieces and one concertante work comprise the celestial track listing on Works for Orchestra, a fresh take from the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and conductor Emilio Pomarico.

Each piece is a segment of the “Mysterium” portion of Caeli enarrant, and the second track, “Monh,” contains the album’s paragon with the inclusion of violist Tabea Zimmermann as soloist. Zimmermann is near-deified among violists, and her peerless command of her instrument’s tonal color palette is on full display here through Lentz’s morphing tapestries of high modernism, deep-space time warps and Romantic chorales. Gliding through Hindemith-like tetra chords, icy ponticello skirmishes and ricocheting jeté strokes, Zimmermann never interrupts the thread of this poly-dimensional traversal of the unexplored cosmos. The album’s two other star-inspired movements, “Guyuhmgan” and “Ngangkar,” are no less effective in unspooling the listener’s sense of place with gargantuan low brass events and gossamer flute and clarinet playing from the Philharmonique, creating vast sonic expanses through which to float in awe.

- Doyle Armbrust

published in Time Out Chicago on November 15th, 2012