Vision Machine Reviews

KC Metropolis

“Harold Meltzer’s Vision Machine, in its world premiere, was a stunning work replete with striking sonorities and meticulously crafted timbral combinations, all of which complemented the work’s inspiration, Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue building in New York. The wind opening found the players trading off exaggerated flared crescendos that built into supremely lush textures by the strings akin to a modern spectral impressionism like the works of Jacob Druckman but more approachable. Though existing outside of a melody/accompaniment model, Meltzer’s work treats timbral combinations as sounds objects, and his exquisite transitions between them are organic, original, and outstanding. All of Meltzer’s craft would be undone by a subpar performance, but Orpheus delivered on every count even if the concertmaster had to conduct some passages with her violin.”

— Lee Hartman, KC Metropolis, March 22, 2016

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Kansas City Star

“Starting with swelling, overlapping entrances in the winds, he created a glossy, disorienting facade from which emerged an ascending pattern that expanded with a floating quality. The energy shifted and surged as crescendos made way for textures of faraway quiet, subtly embellished with plucks from the harp, bent pitches and the harsh surprise of sliding harmonics. Not easily graspable, it was imaginative and evocative, and the ensemble performed with dedicated nuance.”

— Libby Hanssen, Kansas City Star, March 19, 2016

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The New York Times

“To New Yorkers whose daily commute takes them along the West Side Highway, Jean Nouvel’s building at 100 West 11th Avenue, which its architect describes as a “vision machine,” is a familiar sight, a curved structure set with thousands of angled glass panes that make a kaleidoscope of the blues, grays and greens of the sky and river.

“But what does it sound like? On Saturday at Carnegie Hall, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra gave the premiere of Harold Meltzer’s Vision Machine, a breezy and scintillating piece inspired by Mr. Nouvel’s tower. The music deftly captures the interaction of the architecture and its environment, with puffy woodwind chords evoking cloud-chased skies, and delicate arpeggios, traded back and forth between the violin and the harp, mimicking light bouncing off a faceted surface. It is a testament to the skill of the Orpheus players, who perform without a conductor, that the work’s swift changes in mood always felt organic and fluid.”

— Corinna da Fonesca-Wollheim, The New York Times, March 20, 2016

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