Cleveland Orchestra set for pandemic-delayed premiere of Bernd Richard Deutsch’s “Intensity”

Posted on: January 10, 2022

“For as long as we’ve been in a pandemic, Bernd Richard Deutsch has been waiting for this moment,” writes Zachary Lewis in Sunday’s (1/9) Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH). “He completed ‘Intensity,’ a new piece for the Cleveland Orchestra and music director Franz Welser-Möst, in March 2020, days before the world shut down. Now almost two years later, his work is at last about to receive its premiere…. One of many things to which the title ‘Intensity’ refers is Deutsch’s reaction to the orchestra’s 2019 performance of his organ concerto, ‘Okeanos,’ with organist Paul Jacobs. So profound was that experience for Deutsch, it left a permanent mark on his memory and planted the seed for what became an 18-minute work for orchestra, dedicated to Welser-Möst…. Ordinarily, for Deutsch, the orchestra’s Young Composer Fellow, composition is a slow, painstaking process. ‘Intensity,’ however, came relatively easily…. The work’s … second movement … the work’s longest, slowest, and most openly emotional portion, hinges on two rich chords, one of which Deutsch said derives from Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.’ … He’s already working on a second [Cleveland Orchestra commission], a large choral piece tentatively scheduled … for 2024.”