Henze's latest orchestral work was premiered in Amsterdam last December, and here is that performance. Returning to the Salzburg-born Georg Trakl, Henze again does not "set" his text, but maps it directly into instrumental tones.
Sebastian im Traum is the title both of a Trakl poem and this 14-minute "Salzburger Nachtmusik", a typically intricate, multilayered, darkly brooding soundscape whose every moment has the weight of a miniature composition. "Forms come and go, appear, are illuminated and disappear," Henze writes. And his piece makes a plausible pendant indeed to Mahler's sixth symphony.Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 4/16/2006
The three movements of Sebastian im Traum, described as a “Salzburg Nocturne”, are based on a late poem by the expressionist writer George Trakl, which describes a nocturnal landscape near the city where Henze’s last opera, L’Upupa was first performed in 2003. Trakl’s imagery is a haunted mixture of memory and illusion, and Henze’s taut, mostly restrained orchestral writing a tissue of muted colours and shifting layers connected by an almost subliminal thematic web … a beautifully realised orchestral triptych.Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 4/28/2006
It's a piece that Henze's admirers will want to hear without delay, and anyone interested in what a master of cogently argued orchestral writing is doing at the end of a long career should find much to reward him here. This is music of fleeting visions, delicately coloured images and, in the central section, powerful and propulsive rhythms. It is marvellously played here. A distinguished release.Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, 5/1/2006
Hans Werner Henze's exercise in modernist post-Romanticism is sumptuous, sophisticated...Malcolm Hayes, Classic FM Magazine, 7/1/2006