Universal Edition - Wolfgang Rihm – Abkehr

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm

Year of composition: 1985
Scored for: for orchestra
Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
Instrumentation: 5 4 5 4 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), str
Instrumentation details:
1st piccolo
2nd piccolo
3rd piccolo
4th piccolo
5th piccolo
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe
4th oboe
1st clarinet in A
2nd clarinet in A
3rd clarinet in A
4th clarinet in A
5th clarinet in A
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
3rd trumpet in C
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
1st harp
2nd harp
violin I
violin II
Duration: 8′
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Audio Excerpt


World Première

Location: Zürich / Switzerland
Date: 04.04.1986
Orchestra: Junge Deutsche Philharmonie
Conductor: Gary Bertini

Work Introduction

The genesis of this work was a commission from the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, asking Wolfgang Rihm to write a prologue to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. Rihm’s composition takes stock of Mahler’s symphonic achievement and uses its often fractured language as its starting point for his own deeply personal form of expression. The result runs the whole gamut of styles between the extremes of weighty hammer blows and Adagio cantilena. There is a great variety of percussive sounds, from tapping on wood to bright, metallic striking, which occasionally form a bridge to the interjections of woodwind and brass. The title Abkehr – literally ‘renunciation’ indicates that, for Rihm, it was not a question of ‘turning towards’ but, on the contrary, of asserting his own, uncompromising standpoint.

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