Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm Interscriptum
Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

Year of composition:
2000/2002
Subtitle:
Duo
Scored for:
for string quartet and piano
Composer:
Wolfgang Rihm
Instrumentation details:
piano
1st violin
2nd violin
viola
violoncello
Commission:
Ein Kompositionsauftrag von und für Wien modern.
Duration:
15’
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Audiosamples

Interscriptum
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Work introduction

Interscriptum – Duet for String Quartet and Piano is a work that applies a procedure Wolfgang Rihm already chose repeatedly for previous works: He adds new layers to an earlier piece, in this case the String Quartet No. 12 (2000/01) to which he adds a piano part while keeping the structure of the older material intact. This is a procedure that might give rise to fundamental questions about poetics and aesthetics, and first and foremost would make the perception and status of the work a subject of discussion. Two of many possible questions would be whether and how both the former and the latter 'work' can claim integral closeness, or whether the author’s integrity suffers from employing a 'recycling' procedure that might be construed as economically motivated.

Perhaps, however, the technique of overwriting – or, according to the title, writing in between, or inserting, in the original Latin use even improving the artefact by later additions – is not so much a unique mode of composition for Rihm but rather the expression of an understanding of creative work that does not regard the 'work' as anything but the "search for the work" (Musikalische Freiheit [1983 / 96]), and thus a status of never-ending processualisation. It is obvious that there cannot be a zero point that would allow the artist a creative start or approach. Whether one then proceeds from more or less concealed traditional lines, from the model of, for example, the romantic song or indeed from a completed work could at times only be understood as a gradual distinction.

Rihm’ aesthetics are moreover strongly aimed at communicability, originating from 'language systems' that are assumed to be familiar – albeit always overdrawn with immediate emotionality. The logic of motific continuation admittedly – and particularly in the present case – is interspersed with harsh cuts and reflex convulsions, suddenly and abruptly changing again and again. Bizarre forms in almost nature-like rank growth are as unpredictable in this as is the emotional world of a schizophrenic. Although the piano assimilates some motific lines in Interscriptum in contrast to the strongly linear, but also almost orchestral and wide possibilities offered in the score of the string quartet, and despite its dialogical-imitating manner, the piano’s main task is the opening up of new tonal spaces and – e.g. by an excessive use of the sostenuto pedal in a silent low cluster – reveal new colourful spheres – sometimes to a surprising effect. And thus it may be just that expressive spontaneity that allows for a credible kind of 'overwriting'.

Daniel Ender

Special prints

Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

set of parts
for string quartet and piano , 15’

Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

score
for string quartet and piano , 15’

Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

score
for string quartet and piano , 15’

Interscriptum

Wolfgang Rihm: Interscriptum

set of parts
for string quartet and piano , 15’

Première

Location:
Wien
Date:
21.11.2002
Orchestra:
Minguet Quartett

Other works by Wolfgang Rihm

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