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Georges Lentz

Georges Lentz

Georges Lentz


Georges Lentz is a contemporary classical composer, born in Luxembourg in 1965, and is that country's best known composer. Since 1990, he has been living in Australia. Despite his relatively small output, he is now also considered one of Australia's leading composers. Lentz studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1982-1986) and the Hannover Musikhochschule (1986-1990). In 1989, he began working on a cycle of compositions under the name "Caeli enarrant. Read more on Last.fm
Georges Lentz is a contemporary classical composer, born in Luxembourg in 1965, and is that country's best known composer. Since 1990, he has been living in Australia. Despite his relatively small output, he is now also considered one of Australia's leading composers. Lentz studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1982-1986) and the Hannover Musikhochschule (1986-1990). In 1989, he began working on a cycle of compositions under the name "Caeli enarrant..." (The Heavens are telling...

- Psalm 19). Georges Lentz's works express his fascination with astronomy as well as his love for the Australian Outback and Aboriginal art, and reflect his spiritual and existential beliefs, questions and doubts. His music is being recognised increasingly around the world, with performances at the Berlin Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Vienna, Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, Kennedy Center Washington, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Sydney Opera House. His work Guyuhmgan, from part VII of this cycle (Mysterium), was the foremost recommended work at UNESCO's 2002 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris.

His latest composition is a work for solo viola and orchestra called Monh written for German soloist Tabea Zimmermann. Being given to self-doubt and reclusiveness, Lentz rarely writes new works and rarely accepts commissions. He is said to retire to a monastery or the Australian desert to find inspiration and compose, and does not give interviews. The Vale of Glamorgan Festival (UK), where Lentz was a featured composer in 2006, introduced his music as "...an awestruck and almost fearful response to the beauties and mysteries of the universe; a massive, personal creative undertaking from which this intense, almost obsessive composer is painstakingly extracting concert works...a unique voice whose music is genuinely moving despite its brittle austerity and unearthliness, and captures some of the most evocative silences imaginable." Georges Lentz’s music is highly original, while showing the influence of the French Spectralists and, to some degree, the New Complexity movement (unusual instrumental combinations, extended playing techniques etc). It is often soft, fluctuates between polyphonic intricacy and fragile monody, and sometimes contains extended silences. Lentz’s scores of recent years (Mysterium) are written in an unusual rhythmic system, where each bar contains four beats, but the beats can be of different lengths. While it is not clear why Lentz has adopted this idiosyncratic system, the sophisticated textures and colours (occasionally with delicate layers of computer-generated sounds) superimposed over the top of these rigid “grids” render the music far from monotonous or square and frequently give it an extraordinary shimmering or 'twinkling' quality. Another feature particularly of his recent orchestral works is a refined and instantly recognizable sense of harmony incorporating both microtonality and, now and then, an austere sense of 'twisted' tonality, with the occasional harmonic progression fleetingly reminiscent of Schumann or Bruckner.

However, these chorale-like fragments are always brief and buried in the texture of the music, giving the impression of something “long forgotten”. Because of its vast cyclical structure, Lentz's work has been described by British musicologist Chris Dench as "almost proustian" in nature. For the same reasons it has occasionally been compared to Balzac's literary cycle La Comédie Humaine. There seems however to be no relation between Lentz's music and these writers apart from the obvious structural parallels and perhaps a certain panoramic view of the world. In the final analysis, Lentz’s music seems to be torn between intense feelings of awe and an overriding struggle with spiritual doubt and existential loneliness. Read more on Last.fm.

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