(CD: ding / dong)
A major third up, a major third down – this simple interval seems like an in-house sound signal, which Beimel used to develop his concertino for viola and string orchestra, composed in 2007. Its acoustic design has sharp contours, which he softens through glissandi. It expands unexpectedly, giving birth to a mesh of loose, differently articulated textures. It is a game of deception, a veritable jungle of treacherous echoes and associations in which the solo viola finally turns out to be the pathfinder.
A composer who is so economical with notes and carefully listens to the life of every single tone seems predestined for the sensitive world of solo pieces. This is confirmed by the three monologues, each in its own particular way: into space… for double bass with sympathetic strings, pastorale for solo oboe and gaukelei for accordion. Sebastian Gramss, Georg Bongartz and Ute Völker are the highly committed performers.
Beimel’s choral works are characterised by their simple beauty. They deliver something for which academic composers in this country often consider themselves too grand, namely solving the task of composition in such way that it results in music which is playable even by amateurs. Take for example ding dong, a wave of sound, which is inspired by the words of German philosopher Jean Paul “disappearing into the far distance” or the “dulcet washing of the waves” in Eichendorff’s poem “Die Nachtblume”.
Lutz Lesle, “Das Orchester” (Schott), Mainz, 02 / 2012
(vom guten ton · die welt ist voll geplapper)
In the setting of the Kleine Wuppertaler Schauspielhaus, Dorothea Brandt, Michaela Mehring, John Janssen und Jud Perry use music, words and a collection of stage props to present a critical tableau of society today. A thriving association of amateur and professional musicians (a wind ensemble from the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra and the youthful Mandolinen-Konzertgesellschaft Wuppertal) provide the orchestral background under the skilful baton of Detlef Tewes. In nine scenes of everyday life that make for a full evening’s entertainment, Müller and Beimel focus on the jaded demands, inhibitions, masquerades, cheek and minor tragedies of the remaining cultivated bourgeoisie that may have in some ways declined, but still consider itself to be superior. The result is full of strong images; for example when the four actors cast their fishing rods into the muddy waters of their murky emotional seas or when they hang around as smug and scandal-mongering culture snobs. Occasionally, we even join the actors in staring into the emptiness of their lonely lives.
Georg Beck, nmz.de/online, 24.10.2012
(CD: ding / dong)
The probably earliest alphabet recorded was discovered in Ugarit in Northern Syria. It inspired Thomas Beimel to create a string quartet with the same name, transforming the ancient cuneiform writing into captivating musical forms. It may appear slightly jarring that he chose to use a traditional musical ensemble, but the compact density of the string arrangement endows “Ugarit” with considerable impact. “Ugarit” carries the audience off into soundscapes that are poised intriguingly between the familiar and the unknown – like calls from afar that approach and recede in the form of acoustic make-believe giants. Beimel achieves this in part through the concentrated interpretation of the Sonar Quartet, which perfectly explore the dynamic processes.
Beimel’s broad creative spectrum is impressive as is documented in other compositions. His “concertino” for viola and string orchestra (with Werner Dickel, viola, and the Wuppertal Sinfonietta under Reinmar Neuner) is tonally related to “Ugarit”, but not as closely as the quartet. This work comes from a totally different starting point; namely the use of a simple musical idea with “subtle irony” to construct a complex network of red herrings, false trails and deformations.
Egbert Hiller, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, January 2012
A vibraphonist carries out a dialogue with himself; two differing drum beats act like alternating echoes; an accordion and an organ complement one another, but retain a distinct distance; and flute, trombone and voice controversially join in a quartet. This is Thomas Beimel’s music. It has a distinctive sound, is at once unspectacular and eloquent, and at the same time linear. The hustle and bustle, noise and the posturing of the festival circuit are a world away from his style.
(…) Communication is at the core of both the Wuppertal composer’s work and his philosophy. Musical unison is precious to him. Voices and instruments often only interact with one another transiently. This comes across very well in the title piece of the CD – “tanâvar”, an Uzbek love song. Flute, trombone and mezzo soprano only relate to each other sporadically. Nonetheless, the sound created is fascinating. Love, the secret and possibly alternative title of the disk, is defined by the composer as living dissonance. (...) This is expressed in the 17-minute long declamation in the form of vibratos, glissandos and microtonal progressions, rather than folklore. They combine to give an almost unending melody which keeps its distance, but hints at closeness.
Frank Kämpfer, nmz-online, december 2008
The idiomatic quality is indeed obvious in the seven pieces of work all written in or after the year 2000. Even in ‘melos’, a duet for timpanis, one is struck by a language-like articulation; sound-speeches develop in the to-ing and fro-ing of the percussion as it transforms ever more into the melodic. Cantus firmus and canonical interweavings appear over and over again, giving something bound to the body and touchable. Good understanding is always possible even for the unprepared listener. (…) All pieces of work contain an imploringly-restrained, contemplative, but also disastrous, tone. (…) Especially the moments of seeing and fragility, an almost romantic moment of written out reminiscence, of entreaty, of loss and search for unification, are discreetly and intensively present – without obligingness and without cliché.
Bernhard Uske, in "Das Orchester" (Schott), Mainz, october 2005
(Knittel: ein Paartanz)
The stuff written by tough mountain life itself and since long well-known by novel, film, drama and opera: under the name of “Geierwally” a female fate whose creator has been the unknown Anna Steiner-Knittel.
The music theatre production: “Knittel - ein Paartanz” disperses - even sublimes - words into music: and the viola plays for dance. A border crossing which fulfills the aesthetic conception like none else
Dietmar N. Schmidt in the programme notices of “Impulse-Festival”, Köln, january 2004
The composer works very carefully with the great potential of the original instrumentation. The massive forces of five accordion orchestras are used artfully, to create delicate sound structures and acoustic formes. Suspended single tones are “piled up” into chords; the sound is permanently shaped like a fan - thus corresponding to the physical form of the accordion itself. The acoustic impression evoked by the composition reminds us of the highest pitches and most piercing sounds of an organ to an electronic music.
“faltenbalg” is a highly demanding piece, asking for our utmost concentration; in return, we are offered an excitingly new sonoric and spatial experience.
Meike Nordmeyer, Westdeutsche Zeitung, Düsseldorf, 20th febuary 2002
entirely oriented towards sound itself, this composition’s emotional gestures are opposed by “unformed” sound material: The shifting musical “planes” and almost inaudible sounds create a hypnotizing fascination.
Sebastian Pantel, Westdeutsche Zeitung, Wuppertal, 19th november 2001
(Zwei Augen / Sternverdunklung)
Comparting the suggestive force of Lorca’s verses, the German composer Thomas Beimel realises in “Zwei Augen/ Sternverdunklung” a sensitive and refined music: an almost liquid state in which the real and the metaphysical are superposed.
Doina Rotaru, Actualitatea muzicala, Bucharest, june 2000
Introverted, but at the same time ironic, the music of Idyllen is creating a strong effect as an excellent theatrical / dramatic experience.
The authors took Jean Paul’s classical German text and met the challenge incongeniously and in a refreshing new way. Displaying the indispensable witty and “ludicrous” humour, they provoke throughout the whole piece our smile of solidarity.
Ingo Hoddick, “Das Orchester”, Mainz, march 2000
(Die Affäre Klytaimestra)
Thomas Beimel and Michael shaped the story of the ancient conjugal murder into a switchback ride throughout the saga of the Aristides. Collages from fragments of the “Oresty”, songs from the twenties, as well as everyday common places are weaved into the textual “carpet” on which Schneider and Beimel display their expressionist play.
Britta Zelin, Wupper-Nachrichten, Nr. 18 - 1995