Artist/Composer:Eötvös, Péter
(P) 1998
Diapason - 5 Monde de la Musique - 4 stars Classics Today 10/10
In the last two decades Péter Eötvös has become one of the most renowned interpreters of modern music. For some time he has also been the conductor of leading orchestras in Europe as well as in America and Japan. His composing activity began in earnest in the 90s, and the intellectual level and significance of the works written at this time make it clear that their composer justly belongs in the front rank of the turn-of-the-century composers.

Atlantis (1995)
Text by: Sándor Weöres
01. Part I.
02. Part II.
03. Part III.

04. Psychokosmos (1993)

Shadows (1996)
05. First movement
06. Second movement
07. Third movement

 Total time: 68:50
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne (1-3)
BBC Symphony Orchestra, London (4)
Südwestfunk Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden (5-7)
Márta Fábián - cimbalom (1-4)
Dietrich Henschel - barytone (1-3)
Kölner Domchor (4)
Dagmar Becker - flute (5-7)
Wolfgang Meyer - clarinet (5-7)
Peter Eötvös - conductor (1-4)
Hans Zender - conductor (5-7)
Production notes:
I) Atlantis (1995)
Text by Sándor Weöres
Recorded by WDR Cologne
Live recording (17 November 1995, Cologne)
Sound engineer: Stephan Hahn
II) Psychokosmos (1993)
Recorded by WDR Cologne
Live recording (2 July 1995, Essen)
Sound engineer: Stephan Hahn
III) Shadows (1996)
Recorded by SWF Baden-Baden
Live recording (15 March 1996, Baden-Baden)
Sound engineer: Helmut Hanusch

Music publisher: Ricordi Verlag, München
Cover art by Gábor Bachman
Portrait photo: István Huszti
Design: Meral Yasar
Architect: Gábor Bachman

Produced by László Gőz

The release of the recording was sponsored by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary

Anastasia Tsioulcas - (en)
Grant Chu Covell - La Folia (en)
American Record Guide (en)
Paul Griffiths - (en) (fr)
Peter Becker - Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (ger)
Max Nyffeler - Neue Zürcher Zeitung (pdf) (ger)
Ritmo (esp)
Volkskrant (dutch)
Gramofon (hu)
Molnár Szabolcs - Gramofon (hu)
Audio (korean)
Coda Korea (korean)

Click on the image for higher resolution!In contemporary music, I know of no other composer whose gestures are as clear and strong as in the works of Peter Eötvös. Perhaps it is this language of gestures that explains the elementary effect that the critic so rarely encounters in contemporary music, and when he does, he considers it a rare phenomenon. The sensual aspect of Eötvös' compositions is increased by playing with soundspace and a subtle sensibility of tones, for few people are as familiar with the internal" nature of the chosen apparatus as he is.

Beside all the strong effects and the many forms of humour, there is also a series of lyrical moments, like when the composer ends each movement of Atlantis with the fragmented memories of Transylvanian folk music, or as he mourns lost beauty with the hesitant words of the clarinet-flute duet at the end of Shadows and thus creates beauty himself.

In Eötvös' works as a composer, craftsmanship does not stiffen into speculation, enchanting instrumentation is not an end in itself, but rather a means in the service of expression, tradition doesn't fetter, it continues to exist in the form of heart-wrenching scraps of memories."

Zoltán Farkas


Did Atlantis really exist? Where and when? Was it just in someone's imagination? A dream or a nightmare perhaps? Atlantis is the symbol of terrifying natural catastrophies, but it can also be interpreted as a sign of social and ethnic conflicts - it is just ahead of us. Humanity is continuously working on sinking itself, the apocalyptic fall of the anticipated final judgement is a bitter topicality.

Basically, Eötvös is an optimist, he never gives up hope. For him the "Artist" is a seismograph of the future who produces utopias for tomorrow. Eötvös rephrases Mussorgsky's famous saying: the past is with us in the present" into: the future originates from the present.
...We are all under water: this is the situation that Eötvös places the audience into right at the beginning of the piece. A world of fantasy-sounds surrounds us, from which the sounds approach us like far-off hallucinations...
The ten string players and the ten percussionists symbolize the five twins of Poseidon and Kleitos, the first ten kings of Atlantis...

At the end of each movement, soft Transylvanian dance music can be heard from the distance, like the slow, scratched recording on an old phonograph.
Is this all that remained after us? - we might well ask."

Thomas Schäfer (Cologne,1995)


How beautiful that time was! I was seventeen years old, and Gagarin took off; the world was suddenly unlimited. Inspired by the big bang theory, in 1961 I wrote a piano piece that had the title Kosmos. It was a glance into the endlessness around us. Thirty two years later a backward glance: a glance inward, into the particular psycho cosmos of that time.

Péter Eötvös (Stuttgart, 1994)

Psychokosmos, written in 1993 (when does Eötvös find the time to write these long scores with all his work as conductor?), had to be repeated because of the continuous applause - this doesn't often happen with contemporary music...

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (1994)


Every orchestral piece by Eötvös shows a unique sound-image that is unmistakable. In Shadows, on the basis of the idea signalled in the title, he places the sounds, like objects, in a space where they move away from each other, cast shadows and become shadows themselves.... This space can be perceived acoustically and architectonically, on the other hand it can also be interpreted as a psychological space...

The winds are shadows of the solo instruments, the woodwinds are the flute's, the brasses are the clarinet's shadows. The celesta forms a cover around the flute and the clarinet, the timpanist in the background are the shadows of the signalling side drum, standing by the solo instruments.

In the quietest parts the two solo instruments can only be heard very softly from the loudspeakers behind the audience, creating such an intimate atmosphere that the audience has the feeling they are whispering directly into his ear.

Max Nyffeler (Munich)

Eötvös's Shadows is a true masterpiece: a beautiful concerto for chamber orchestra, flute and clarinet... The solo instruments are amplified to a subtle degree so that the sound emanates from different place than the actual location of the performer. This spatial effect is skilfully woven into the fabric of the composition. Turning his back on the theoretical compositions that precede "Shadows", Eötvös plays with space and purely musical and refined ideas that combine the poetry and colour of Boulez with the intensity of Webern...

The Telegraph (Netherland, 1997)