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Music in Silence: Peter Ruzicka

North German Radio's major portrait devoted to Peter Ruzicka, produced by "das neue werk" on 10/11 October 2003 was praised by Joachim Mischke in the Hamburger Abendblatt on 13 October 2003 in the following words:

"'One must remain silent about matters which one cannot speak about.' Or, to freely quote Wittgenstein, one must compose. Two concerts in the North German Radio series 'das neue werk' at the Liebermann Studio documented positions of the former Hamburg Opera Director and conducting composer, Peter Ruzicka. They made it clearly audible how full of tension (and stoically returning again and again) the confrontation with an idol like Mahler and a distraught figure like the poet Paul Celan can be when the emotionally laden creation of music is also a safety-valve for music organisation, whether in Hamburg, Salzburg or Munich. And the concerts ended, certainly not by mere chance, with Wittgenstein as 'famous last words.'

Ruzicka himself conducted for the most part; if he also conducted rarities of Mahler, then this was also a reflection of his own commentary on the world scepticism of his spiritual relative. Ruzicka dissected Mahler's 'Totenferier' with competent distance rather than suffering through it. The NDR Symphony Orchestra let him have his own way; they are experienced enough in playing to allow for such cases of self-direction. The 'Celan Symphony,' the world premiere of a distillation of thoughts from the composer's first opera, agitated the listeners more. The mosaic of hints and desperation roared and came to a standstill (the soprano Anne-Carolyn Schlter was most impressive); here, too, a full dosage of pathos-homage in the direction of late Mahler rounded off the Finale. Ruzicka had a sensitive, virtuoso soloist for his Clarinet Concerto in Sharon Kam. With the Arditti Quartet, the torn, fragmentary Third and the self-doubting Fourth String Quartets were in the best of hands."