Universal Edition - Wolfgang Rihm – Vigilia

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm

Year of composition: 2006
Scored for: for 6 voices and ensemble
Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
Soloists: soprano, alto, 2 tenors, baritone, bass
Instrumentation: 0 0 1 0 - 1 0 2 1, perc(1), org, vla(1), vc(1), cb(1)
Instrumentation details:
clarinet in A
horn in F
1st trombone
2nd trombone
bass tuba
percussion(1 player: 2 wood blocks, 1 bass drum, 3 bell plates, 3 Javlanese gongs, 3 suspended cymbals, 3 tubular bells)
Commissioned by: A joint commission by Berliner Festspiele, Festival d’Automne à Paris, La Biennale di Venezia, musikFabrik and Kunststiftung NRW.
Duration: 65′
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Audio Excerpt


World Première

Location: Philharmonie Berlin / Germany
Date: 07.09.2006
Orchestra: musikFabrik
Choir: Singer Pur
Conductor: Stefan Asbury

Work Introduction

Vigilia comprises the Seven Passion Texts which Rihm composed between 2001 and 2006 for the Singer Pur vocal sextet and which were gradually set to music and initially performed as individual texts. The first performance of the sixth and seventh Passion texts was simultaneously that of Vigilia, a work supplementing the seven Passion texts with instrumental intermezzi. The final piece “unites the voices and instruments in a plea for forgiveness” (Clemens Goldberg).

“Contemporary sacred music was thus linked with compositions of the 15th and 16th centuries, from the old choir-books of the Vatican libraries.

In Catholic liturgy, vigils are kept at night in the form of written epistles or prayers, intended as preparation for special church feasts – Easter in particular – in the concentration of darkness. Rihm refers to this rite and the old, musically historical tradition of the responsorial cycle as exemplified by such composers as Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613). Rihm’s Passion motets reveal a certain kinship with Gesualdo’s famous settings, although Rihm’s are separated by instrumental intermezzi.

Like Gesualdo, whose extreme use of chromatic harmonies and sonic progressions probed the limits of tonality and polyphonic setting, Rihm allows the texts’ messages to come to the fore in expressive musical twists and turns and an atmospheric density, spontaneously reminiscent of Gesualdo’s boldness.”

Andreas Günther

Translation Copyright © Grant Chorley

(Reproduction of the text in any form is only permitted with prior written permission of the author.)

study score - Vigilia

  • for 6 voices and ensemble
  • Edition type: study score

study score - Vigilia

  • for 6 voices and ensemble
  • Edition type: study score

full score - Vigilia

  • for 6 voices and ensemble
  • Edition type: full score

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