Pierre Boulez loves virtuosity, says moderator Wolfgang Schaufler. “His music does not have extreme compositional virtuosity, but there is a certain risk,” says Tamara Stefanovich. For example, the Second Sonata, which will also be played in concert tomorrow, is perfectly formulated. “The ideas are very clear. Beyond the structure, however, he manages to take the audience with him,” she says. “The piece develops into a mystery, delving into acoustic and pianistic impossibilities,” as she says. The ear is challenged to the extreme.
When discussing Boulez, one must not lose sight of the fact that he is a French composer, in the tradition of Debussy, says Wolfgang Schaufler. Of course he was strongly influenced by the Viennese School, but in his music one hears a completely free spirit.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard met Boulez when the latter was only 51. “He was already Mount Everest at the time,” says the pianist. He describes Boulez as a man full of humanity, with enormous activism on behalf of music, and always dedicated to the cause. Both in human and in moral terms, he is a role model.
Of course he plays Boulez works differently today than he did 20 years ago, explains Aimard. That is completely natural – after all, he too has developed, and he keeps discovering new levels and hidden layers in the music. For many ,Boulez’ music was provocative in 1992 – today one has the impression that the audience has a more natural approach to it. So was Boulez a modernist in 1992 and has become a classic? “Maybe,” says Pierre-Laurent Aimard, “but a classic who remains beautifully disturbing!” Boulez’ music demands more exertion, is more challenging, but also richer, says the pianist. That is why he thinks it suitable for any listener who might feel that contemporary music is inaccessible.
Wolfgang Rihm describes how he cried, overcome with emotion, because Konwitschny managed to create emotions with the help of a book. The stage sets show a destroyed world with a white room at its centre, inside which Montezuma arranges everything down to the smallest detail in the beginning. The windows are washed, the carpet smoothed out, and this book, Shadows of Wild Horses, is placed on the table carefully, ensuring that they have something to talk about during their first meeting. At the end of Act II, the room is overtaken by absolute chaos, and the book becomes a symbol. “The history of the relationship is told with great consequence,” the soprano says.
During recent days, composer Wolfgang Rihm has been asked frequently by journalists what made the Salzburg Festival special. “They were always quite astonished at my answers,” he says. “Salzburg is a place where one is offered a mind-boggling working situation. It is possible to work here with incredible intensity, and with so much love and passion.”
After more than thirty years of an intense and artistically most beautiful relation to the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm was awarded the “Honorary Medal of the Province of Salzburg” by the governor Dr. Wilfried Haslauer in Salzburg yesterday.
- Wolfgang Rihm: Die Eroberung von Mexico
- Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera
- Celebrating the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez
- The Barber of Seville for children
Find out more about Universal Edition at this year’s Salzburg Festival in our current newsletter.
Tonight at the Teater Republique in Kopenhagen: conductor Benjamin Schneider and the Ensemble Modern present the Danish première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Sextett for clarinet, horn and string quartet at the Klang Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival.
This concert will be followed by a performance of Pierre Boulez’ Troisième Sonate by pianist Jonas Olsson.
The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester has published part 3 of their “Rihm in Salzburg” video series, watch it on YouTube:
About “Rihm in Salzburg”: In 2014, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester commissioned the Piano Concerto No 2 by Wolfgang Rihm, together with the Salzburg Festival and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC. The world première took place at the Salzburg Festival on 25 August 2014, with Tzimon Barto on piano and Christoph Eschenbach – to whom the piece was also dedicated – as conductor.
Watch episode 1:
This Tuesday, 12 May, accordionist Alfred Melichar and the Ensemble Wiener Collage present an evening with Wolfgang Rihm at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. Rihm’s eight Fetzen will be performed together with Arnold Schönberg’s Serenade. Entrance will be free for students.
All that said, Rihm’s trio is an exciting piece and definitely worth another hearing. The three soloists—violinist Ulf Schneider, cellist Martin Löhr and pianist Eckart Heiligers—make up the Trio Jean Paul and they did a heroic job of bringing the piece to life. (Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJones, 18 April 2015)
In this work text fragments from the Roman requiem liturgy can be heard; however not 'intact' and not in the correct liturgical order. They appear more as components reminiscent of a progressively realised whole. (Wolfgang Rihm)
The CD includes a booklet with an introductory statement by Wolfgang Rihm and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Wolfgang Schreiber.
Watch an interview with Wolfgang Rihm on ET LUX (German interview with French subtitles):
“Horizons” summarizes the most interesting events held by the Lithuanian Ensemble Network between 2009 and 2014 and documents its best recordings, including Lied and O, King by Luciano Berio, Nichtstück and Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Vykintas Baltakas and Am Horizont by Wolfgang Rihm.
Find out more on the website of the Lithuanian Ensemble Network.
La Monnaie | De Munt is offering a free stream of Wolfgang Rihm’s Jakob Lenz in Andrea Breth’s production with Wolfgang Nigl as the protagonist of the same name.
“In view of his almost overpowering esprit and charm, I was constantly asking myself how I could meet the challenge and contend with him and his works.” (Anne-Sophie Mutter)
Find out what Claudio Abbado, Irvine Arditti, Mojca Erdmann, Lucas Fels, Nicolas Hodges, Anna Prohaska, Jörg Widmann and Anne-Sophie Mutter have to say about the composer:
The problem with programming a day devoted to Wolfgang Rihm’s music is not deciding what to include, but what be can be excluded from an output of more than 400 scores. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 2 March 2015)
Andrew Clements of the Guardian has reviewed the Wolfgang Rihm festivities that took place on 28 February at Wigmore Hall.
Read the full review on The Guardian.