Rolf Hind press Reviews
“Rolf Hind's performance of his own concerto was crammed full of unfamiliar sounds.. A percussionist wielding a toy whirly tube, pieces of paper being torn to shreds, members of the orchestra humming and whistling …. Hind's is music to be listened to, in the strictest sense. Though it is tempting to seek out and catalogue each mystery sound, the reward for resisting is great.
Based upon the dual concepts of Maya (the external world) and Sesha ("what remains") in eastern philosophy, the work divides into two sections. The first, chaotic and bustling, presents a many-layered spatial struggle between muted lower brass, concentrated accordion interjections and prepared piano. The simple stasis of the second section, introduced by a beguiling piano cadenza, is where the real nub of the piece lies however; mesmeric and meditative.”
Rolf Hind's Maya-Sesha, written for the composer as soloist, is not a piano concerto in the traditional sense, but more of a concertante work for piano and ensemble. Unusual sonorities abound: Hind has stripped the violin section down to four players and bolstered the remaining ensemble with the distinctive shrieking sound of the soprano saxophone, an accordion and a quartet of recorders. The piano itself is an extremely reticent soloist, emerging only after 10 minutes to a mixture of exotic-sounding prepared strings. Towards the end, in what is the work's most effective section, these tones are combined in a quasi-cadenza, accompanied by a mysterious chorus of hums and sighs that finally dissolves into stillness amid the eerie sound of whistling and tolling gongs.
Rowena Smith – THE GUARDIAN
Rolf Hind's The Eye of Fire was the summation of the evening, as well as its climax. The six movements are based on Yoga positions - Hero, Cobra, Eagle, Corpse, Nataraja and Child. They depict, variously, the positions themselves, Hind's meditation on these positions and his physical response to placing himself in these positions. The result is a work of intricate and entrancing strangeness. East meets West once more. We have a dervish-type dance inspired by Shiva; we have a raga-without-tonic; we have unison; we have twanged piano strings and sepulchral knockings; we have a piano solo and, elsewhere, the strings alone. Towards the end, after this parade of diverse and wide-ranging musics and colours, a melody appears: one which apparently had been present throughout. The third eye is opening, showing us a new form of awareness. The Eye of Fire is a spiritual journey, here played with calm and rapt dedication. I would happily hear it again, more than once.
Review of The Eye of Fire tour, December 06: Not every concert comes prefaced with a yoga demonstration. But not every concert features Rolf Hind's The Eye of Fire -- 25 minutes of musical contortions for piano quintet, inspired by yoga positions ranging from the nonchalant Corpse to the joint-wracking Scorpion.
Considering the exertions new music makes, I'm surprised that the marriage hasn't been tried before. This exuberantly imagined piece certainly made a grand finale to Hind's SPNM (Society for the Promotion of New Music) touring programme, littered with premieres from young composers, performed with the Duke Quartet.
We'd begun two hours earlier with a persuasive account of the Schnittke piano quintet from the 1970s: disjointed, ghostly, mad -- though compared to Hind's creation a piece as conservative as Brahms.
Schnittke at least kept the pianist sitting down; Hind requires a prepared piano and much plucking and thudding. The result is lyrical chaos, playful and spiritual both at once: proof enough that Hind isn't just a formidable piano player but a composer of note as well.
Of all the composers featured, Rolf Hind is the name most recognisable, albeit for his more familiar persona as pianist. Hind is exceptionally self critical of his own music which possibly accounts for the fact that his work is still relatively little known. Solgata, appropriately for piano and played by the composer, describes the path of the sun on water and was intended as a companion piece to the earlier Cloud Shadow. "Tampering with the piano" as Hind puts it, creates some fascinating sounds, not least when the music submerges to an underwater perspective partway through...
In covering the festival's packed first few days, there is room only for brief mention of two world premieres: Hind's own Das Unenthullte, a mesmerisingly evocative and disturbing piece for perambulating violinist and piano; and Stuart MacRae's Ancrene Wisse...
(Keith Potter,The Independent)
Hind also appeared as the composer of a duo, Die Unenthüllte, daring and imaginative in the sound world, surprisingly renouncing traditional pianistic effects in exchange for an acoustical fantasy, leading both instruments to the edge of their capabilities: torn clouds of stormy weather in a low dramatic lightning...
[Rolf Hind's] ritualistic Horse Sacrifice is a major work displaying originality and imagination, auguring well for a composing future
..Hind's inspiration was an ancient Hindu ritual and places a solo cello centrally as the sacrificial victim and surrounds him with five other instrumentalists who constantly moved positions. The sound world, with its edgy, predominantly high-register writing, is .. haunting.
(Andrew Clements, The Guardian)
..Highlights were Rolf Hind's The City of Love (with surprisingly unvirtuosic piano part..)
..Dreamy and restless, Solgata (a Swedish word for the sun's path on water) is one of those rare prepared-piano pieces that stands away from Cage's influence..
(La Folia online Dec 2002)
.... The Eye of Fire, its sequence of movements based on yoga positions, proved a fascinating half hour of music for prepared piano and quartet... its sounds were intriguing, but however complex the score-notation, what we heard was refreshingly simple and unpretentious...
... Hind's own Hindi song cycle The City of Love was a highlight, with whistling and humming helping violin and prepared piano to weave a delicately resonant web around the extraordinary compass of Lixenberg's voice..
(Erica Jeal 21st November 2005 Guardian)
The festival picked up pace with a blistering recital by the violinist David Alberman, pianist Rolf Hind and singer Lore Lixenberg. One highlight was Hind's own gorgeous song cycle The City of Love, utilising all manner of avant-garde vocal and fiddle techniques (as well as twangs and bongs from a prepared piano) to produce textures of ear-tickling delicacy.
(Richard Morrison 22nd November 2005 The Times)