Orpheus (Vienna version - German Première) at the Aalto-Theater Essen, September 2001:
The third important say has, instead of Eurydice, Henze's orchestra. It is brilliantly lead by the young Swedish conductor Patrik Ringborg and most justly appears on stage for the final curtain bows.
Henze's Orpheus music is opalescent with many colours. It is capable of extraordinary escalation, able to throw every corps de ballet in the air, it is excessively rich in its gestures, suggestive, in its lyrical moments beguilingly dulcet. It is masterly. It doesn't tell the choreography what it wants to hear but challenges it persistently. It never loses the great breath. It demands a great deal from itself, but also from the choreography, which occasionally has trouble in keeping up with Henze's musical wealth of ideas:
Orpheus is a ballet for listening. Those were since Stravinsky's Sacre by no means the worst pieces.
Even more could the Orpheus music, played warmly and differentiation by the Essen Philharmonic under Patrik Ringborg, tell about its maker; about the bonds to Stravinsky, the wealth of colours from Henze's adopted country Italy and about his closeness to the audience with the modern, popular mix of styles.
Patrik Ringborg lead the Essen Philharmonic securely through the multifaceted score, in which Henze deals with Poliziano und Monteverdi who first set the myth to music as well as with Wagner's Tristan and clearly appears as the antipode to Gluck.
Under Patrik Ringborg's direction the Essen Philharmonic succeeded in plastically bringing out the differentiated sound.
The ballet evening became a triumph for Henze's music. Unto this day it has kept its spell with the contrasting instrumentation, which was eminently confirmed by the Essen Philharmonic under Patrik Ringborg.
The Essen Philharmonic under Patrik Ringborg as well as the gala cast left nothing to be desired...
An evening, during which the Essen Philharmonic under Patrik Ringborg sovereignly mastered the fabulous Orpheus score.
... can celebrate a peak in their performances.
This is equally valid for the Essen Philharmonic, who under Patrik Ringborg lays out the difficult score exquisitely transparent and vibrantly renders excitement to the nothing less than physical music.
His Orpheus score is glassily beautiful in its incredible wealth of colours and facets and has a hand-picked exceptional instrumentation from the tender solo to the dramatic self-confident sound event. ... The Essen Philharmonic under Patrik Ringborg performed their important part with dedication, transparency and verve and here it was perceivable, that the music forms a unity with the dance.
(The music) in its reproduction by the Essen Philharmonic under the immensely intense direction by Patrik Ringborg impressed anyway like it did a quarter of a century ago through its explosive vehemence and its soulful lyric – a music with powers to make peace and reconcile people with each other.
And it is commendable, in which superior way the music of the Essen Philharmonic under the young conductor Patrik Ringborg was realised - in its special neo-classical atmosphere, its very specific expressiveness, shifting in allusions between the subtlest sensual effect and violent discharges of sound. A first-class listening adventure.

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