Saturday, January 05, 2019

Matthew Schultheis: young composer with interesting chamber music, sometimes recalling Berg

Matthew Schultheis, 21, is listed among Metropolis Ensemble’s composers for a 2019 event called “A Stone’s Throw” (in their new space in NYC in SoHo).  He grew up in northern Virginia.  I’m not sure if he attended the Potomac School (like percussionist Grant Hoechst, who had appeared at Trinity Presbyterian Church in 2012).

Here is a piece for eight players, “The Temptation of St. Anthony”, for eight chamber players.  The historical person appears to be Anthony of Padua.  Is this related to the annual Camino Walk in northern Spain?   The work has four movements and the style seems dodecaphonic. 

He conducts his own Chamber Concerto for 15 players (17 min), which has three movements. 
The first movement is called “The Party” and has some nice repeated block chords with harmonic effects at about 5:00, on top of the atonality  (a little more like some of my writing in the Third Sonata, first movement development section).    The second movement is “Grave, lyrical”, and it stretches out fragments of a melodic line over a lot of atonal backdrop. The melody indulges some repeated notes and scales.  This leads without pause to the finale, “Inescapable”, as if a (Netflix) horror movie? You get some snippets of jazz themes over top of the clatter below. The work ends abruptly with percussion.  Was this work inspired by Alban Berg’s “Chamber Concerto”?  My ear didn’t pick up any idea that two movements are combined (Ralph Vaughn Williams did something like that in the Eighth Symphony).
It’s still before Epiphany, so we see Schultheis playing in piano four hands (with Mark Fleisher) “The Birthday of a King”, here.

I don't know if composers put themselves on Linked In, but Google showed only his namesakes. 

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