Bachmann Rotation 90 degrees N

Author: 
Arnold Whittall

Bachmann Rotation 90 degrees N

  • Rotation 90 degrees North

Robert Bachmann, born in Switzerland in 1944, is being promoted as both conductor and composer by the Australian Arva Classics label. This recording was made in London, using 30 RPO players—12 violas, ten cellos and eight double-basses.
Bachmann seeks to evoke the ''uniquely mystical sense of elemental solitude at the Earth's centre of rotation'' and to reflect his experience at the North Pole during a four-day stay there in 1990. Bachmann was ''seeking a place of meditation far removed from civilisation and our manipulated environment'', yet his music is itself intensely manipulative in its inexorable recycling of a single, relatively short statement through its entire 72-minute length.
Bachmann believes not only that his music transforms his polar experience into a reflection of ''the eternal orbiting of our planet in the universe'', but also that it expresses ''tranquillity and peace''. All I was able to draw from it was an interminable impression of generalized gloom, a bleak swelling and subsiding too murky in texture and too inchoate in shape to have any transcendental qualities. If the work had been described as a threnody for the endless suffering of non-combatants in Bosnia my reaction would doubtless have been quite different. As it is, I find Rotation 90 degrees North as appealing as an attack of frost-bite.'

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