(On the occasion of the first performance of Psalm 130)
There are some premières where it is not in the first instance the composer whom we aught to congratulate, but ourselves, because we have been privileged to witness an important event. The central work in the sixth Extraordinary concert of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra was Friedhelm Rentzsch's Psalm 130, "Aus tiefster Not schrei ich zu dir" for alto voice and orchestra…
This work is the testament of a committed modern artist…, who feels the world's misery and responds to it with - please forgive the old - fashioned sounding word - a message. Rentzsch puts his message… across with the greatest sensitivity …
The treatment of the text is mostly quiet and restrained, but it creates extremes of tension. It is almost unbelievable, the way the music sinks into silence at the close. Rentzsch's attitude is not one of tearful distress, it is a struggle to understand, a search for a way… to make us hear the call to charity and fellow-feeling.
Peter Zacher, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 15.2.93
(on a performance of the Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass (1989) in a chamber music concert of the Sächsische Staatskapelle in the Semper Oper House, Dresden)
Typical for Rentzsch: although he makes no mention of a "program", he has one. It would be too easy for him simply to play with the contrasts between the building-up in the relaxing of tension, or even to engage in the resolution of conflicts. Melodic lines intertwine and allow the music an expressive freedom. Lyrical passages are rudely interrupted. An intelligent, profound piece of music.
Hans Peter Altmann, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 6.1.2001
(on the occasion of the first performance of Orchestermusik III by the Dresdner Philharmonic Orchestra)
I don't remember that I… ever drew breath. I knew what I was to hear, was familiar with the score… but still I was gripped from the moment on. Two great crescendi lead to outbursts of violence and then let the music fall back in on itself. At the end one has passed through a vale of tears, but without the music's ever slipping into pathos. It I an honest and truthful depiction of the world in which we live.
Peter Zacher, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 6.6. 1995
With his lucid structure Rentzsch made continual demands on our emotions. From a fin-spun pianissimo develop two fortissimi which make the hairs rise on the nape of one's neck-outbursts which reach their climax quickly and then come to rest… in a "composed silence"
Thomas Berlin, Sächsische Zeitung 6.6.1995
(on a later performance of the same work in the Kreuzkirche in Dresden)
Questions are posed uncompromisingly, expressed in different ways and repeated with increasing rhythmic and melodic complexity. The quotation "Nun danket alle Gott" ["Now thank we all our God"] is far from being an "easy answer". Rentzsch allows us to see a reflection of himself and his view of this imperfect world.
Hans Peter Altmann, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 17.5 1999