NAOMI PINNOCK  COMPOSER

NEUE MUSIKZEITUNG PORTRAIT

RHETORIK DES UNGREIFBAREN

Dirk Wieschollek

 

article about my music featured in the Neue Musikzeitung,

published in December 2014

 

Read more  (in German)

 

“Pinnocks zweites Streichquartett klingt, als hätten „Cages String Quartet in Four Parts“, Morton Feldman und die urwüchsige Gestik eines Birtwistle aufs Schönste zusammengefunden: Ausdruck als ein angestrengtes Herauswollen, das im Moment des Erscheinens die Mühen des Sagens, Machens, Spielens (Komponierens?) hörbar macht…

 

…die Nähe zu Samuel Beckett ist mit Händen zu greifen”

“It’s easy to put convention to one side, but to do it in a way that avoids mere novelty yet also stands on its own as a coherent, prepossessing entity is not at all easy. Words exhibits precisely these characteristics, & in so doing feels fundamentally different from much of what’s passed off as ‘new music’ today.”

5against4

LINES AND SPACES // RICHARD UTTLEY

 

HUDDERSFIELD CONTEMPORARY MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016 

 

THE TELEGRAPH

IVAN HEWETT

 

“It fell to the wonderful young pianist Richard Uttley to prove that new music can be aurally refined without being precious. Every piece in his hour-long recital was rewarding, but it was Naomi Pinnock’s delicately reticent Lines and Spaces, its tracery of chords and repeated notes placed in perfect balance, that stole the show.”

“strangely compelling”

(The Guardian)

LINES AND SPACES // RICHARD UTTLEY

 

HUDDERSFIELD CONTEMPORARY MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016 

 

5against4

SIMON CUMMINGS

 

“Less conventional were the new works from Michael Cutting and Naomi Pinnock, both also world premières…Pinnock’s Lines and Spaces comprises six miniatures, inspired in part by the paintings of American abstract artist Agnes Martin. Each Line was impressive in the courage of its simplicity: a sonic line extended by a rapidly repeating single pitch, coloured by a simple octave doubling, adjacent pitches, or a resonant chord, with the pedal brought in occasionally to smudge things. The Spaces occupy bigger environments, inhabited by calm, measured droplets of harmonic colour like blobs of ink falling into water; the first and last were pretty, but the second was immersive, seemingly expanding to subsume the performance space, filling it with a complex constellation of drifting celestial bodies. Beautiful.”

STRING QUARTET NO. 2  // ARDITTI QUARTET

 

WITTENER TAGE FÜR NEUE KAMMERMUSIK 2012 // Dokumentation live // WDR 3 

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NEUE ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR MUSIK

DIRK WIESCHOLLEK

 

“...Eine bemerkenswerte Entwicklung nimmt auch Naomi Pinnocks String Quartet no. 2, dem man zunächst eine gewisse Sprödigkeit attestieren möchte, bevor der Knoten platzt und diese brüchigen Variationen und Wiederhohlungen größte Intensität entfalten! Sind nicht die besten Stücke die, die uns während des Hörens Lügen strafen? Die 1979 geborene Britin gehörte zu einer ganzen Reihe bemerkenswerter Witten-DebütatInnen...”

“sind nicht die besten Stücke die, die uns während des Hörens Lügen strafen?”

(Neue Zeitschrift für Musik)

STRING QUARTET NO. 2  // ARDITTI QUARTET

 

5against4

SIMON CUMMINGS

 

“Conversely, by drastically restricting the scope of her material, Naomi Pinnock offered very much more with which to engage. Her String Quartet No. 2, subtitled ‘Traces’, was given its UK première at this concert, & the tenor of its opening viola solo quickly establishes that it is a heavily preoccupied, even obsessive work. The viola restates, re-emphasises & reconsiders a single gestural idea like picking at a scab. It also sets up a very narrow harmonic environment, echoed & reinforced by the rest of the players when they join in. As a quartet, pauses start to interrupt their focus, allowing some tentative elaboration (or comment) on the central idea, gliding into some lovely soft asides. But Pinnock doesn’t allow the players to lose sight of that opening gesture which, to switch metaphors, becomes like a splinter in the quartet’s side, to the point where they become laboured, grinding away, stuck in an implacable rut. This unsettling first movement is followed by another which seems to usher in a restart. The obsession now fixates on a muted, anaemic representation of the essence of what went before, like the outworking of a single, captured ‘snapshot’. By now the harmonic palette feels utterly constricted, & there’s a sense of no way out—or even of nothing beyond. Yet out of nowhere: a distant collection of high pizzicato notes—no discernible pitch, the first percussive moment in the piece—brings about an enigmatic & altogether unexpected conclusion. In this context, such a tangential contrast with everything else can only be heard with a faint air of hope.”

WORDS // LONDON SINFONIETTA , OMAR EBRAHIM, BEAT FURRER

 

THE GUARDIAN

ANDREW CLEMENTS

 

“Furrer also conducted the premiere of Naomi Pinnock's Words...It's a short three-movement setting of a gnomic, Gertrude Stein-like text by Pinnock herself, the atomised words delivered by the baritone Omar Ebrahim like a biblical text from a revivalist preacher. It works itself to a ferocious climax, and then turns more reflective, surrounding the voice with shadowy, evanescent textures. Strangely compelling.”

WORDS // LONDON SINFONIETTA , OMAR EBRAHIM, BEAT FURRER

 

5against4

SIMON CUMMINGS

 

“...to begin, a thoroughly enigmatic work from Naomi Pinnock, Brit-born but now living in Berlin. Words, completed in 2011, was composed while Pinnock was a participant in the London Sinfonietta’s ‘Blue Touch Paper’ programme. The piece establishes an uneasy relationship with familiarity, beginning with the instrumentation, which, alongside a pair of clarinets, percussion & standard-issue five strings, are to be found an accordion, cimbalom & harp, in addition to a baritone soloist who acts as figurehead for the ensemble. The coupling of a singer with that innocently simple title is deceptive; Pinnock’s text exists as a collection of semantically sequestered fragments, a boiled-down distillation of meaning into, yes, words—but words that together pack all the concise, clusterbomb power of Samuel Beckett:

why solve a night without why without silence without why nothing why again nothing why 

For several minutes, though, the singer can’t even get beyond the first word. His faltering delivery, seemingly the product of doubt, anguish & fear, is given a soft corona from the ensemble, beginning on his pitch & then meandering away. Taking their lead from the baritone, the music exhibits a kind of ‘breathing’ behaviour, slow, spacious, measured, its timbres melding superbly. A tremolando on the cimbalom acts as trigger for the deliriously weird episode that follows, in which the singer goes to the opposite extreme, gabbling his words violently, Pinnock showering them with shards of metallic percussion; very soft reposes in between these outbursts make for a deeply unsettling contrast. There’s a pause, before the clarinets set up a new line of enquiry, soft pitches gently glancing off each other. The singer joins in with a mixture of open & closed sounds, continuing in this vein for a long time. It’s borderline ponderous, yet the effect is intense, focusing on what is essentially a very intimate sound world. Eventually, the rest of the ensemble returns, initially (harp, accordion & cimbalom) bringing a sense of order through regular rhythms, but ultimately, at the entrance of the strings, blurring the harmony so that it ends in smudges.

It’s easy to put convention to one side, but to do it in a way that avoids mere novelty yet also stands on its own as a coherent, prepossessing entity is not at all easy. Words exhibits precisely these characteristics, & in so doing feels fundamentally different from much of what’s passed off as ‘new music’ today. Unavoidably, it’s therefore something a challenge—but when the outcome has such moving potential, it’s a challenge well worth embracing.”

THE WRITINGS OF JAKOB BR. // SCHOLA HEIDELBERG // WALTER NUSSBAUM

 

OFFENBURGER TAGESBLATT

 

“Erneut ein Bruch, ein musikalischer Sprung in unsere Zeit mit einer Komposition der britischen Komponistin Naomi Pinnock, die mit »The writings of Jakob Br.« Schriften eines psychisch Erkrankten vertont hat, die aus sich wiederholenden Worten bestehen. Aus schwebenden Tönen blitzen einzelne Wort- und Silbenfragmente auf, die sich verbinden und verdichten, schließlich zusammenfinden und in einem auf- und abschwellenden Strom enden.”

THE WRITINGS OF JAKOB BR. // SCHOLA HEIDELBERG // WALTER NUSSBAUM

 

RHEIN-NECKAR-ZEITUNG

 

“Mit wenigen klanglichen Mitteln schafft es Pinnock, eine tief verinnerlichte Atmosphäre entstehen zu lassen, in der Vokale und Laute sanfte Verbindungen eingehen und nur der Konsonant in "lucere" hervorsticht”

© 2015-2017  Naomi Pinnock