Karlheinz Essl


Electronic Sound Environment

Karlheinz Essl: Wagneriana - Three Deconstructions on Richard Wagner (Ron Schepperd)
in: textura.org (January 2014)

(...) Essl's work can be viewed as an examination of notions of authorship and the ways by which Wagner's music can be wrested from its creator's grasp, and of how the meanings he imputed to the material are supplemented by a proliferation of additional meanings that others, such as Essl, bring to it. But not only is his recording a literal deconstruction of Wagner's music, it's also an exercise in defamiliarization, a means by which the listener can be stirred from a conventional, reflexive reception of Wagner's work to confront it anew.

Essl's work leads the listener sufficiently familiar with Wagner's music into a re-examination of the composer's work. At the risk of overstatement, one might argue that repeated exposure to Wagneriana - Three Deconstructions on Richard Wagner could result in the listener never hearing the composer's operas in the same way again.

Of the recording's pieces, it's the twenty-five-minute Parsifal-Kristall that's the one least noticeably altered; in this case, choral voices and orchestral forces seem to operate as per normal, though (unless I'm simply imagining it) subtle reshaping by Essl is audible in the music's drift and waver.

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Updated: 3 Jan 2014