Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm Lichtes Spiel
Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

Year of composition:
2009
Scored for:
for violin and small orchestra
Composer:
Wolfgang Rihm
Soloists:
violin
Instrumentation:
2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Duration:
18’
Dedication:
Anne-Sophie Mutter gewidmet
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Audiosamples

Lichtes Spiel
00:00

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

The title of Lichtes Spiel might be translated as “Light Game“ or “Light Play“, and may be taken as a pun on the German expression “leichtes Spiel“, meaning “an easy job“; or what we might call “Child’s Play“. Wolfgang Rihm has said that he intended it as “a transparent orchestral movement… something light, but not ‘lightweight’”. The result, which uses instrumental forces of Mozartian proportions, is a detailed, finely wrought score in which the composer provides fine-tuned indications of how practically every note is to be articulated.

Instructions for tempo and mood are similarly precise. For example, the notation governing the opening section: Un poco sostenuto, non troppo lento, poco à poco più scorrendo (“A bit sustained, not too slow, bit by bit more scurrying”). It is the sort of directive one sometimes finds in Beethoven, particularly in his late works.

A fair amount of variety is incorporated into this work as well, and extends to its dynamics, which occasionally reach a point of relative loudness – most notably in a passage marked Allegro, un poco pesante (“Fast, rather heavy”) about three-quarters of the way through. Nonetheless, high volume is a rarity in this piece, which is overwhelmingly skewed toward the quiet end of the sonic spectrum. In fact, the overriding dynamic indication would appear to be pianissimo: the work begins and ends at this very quiet level, and it returns throughout as a sort of reference point from which the music may depart but to which it always returns.

Special prints

Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

study score
for violin and small orchestra , 18’
Instr.: 2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str

Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

piano reduction
for violin and small orchestra , 18’
Instr.: 2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str

Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

full score
for violin and small orchestra , 18’
Instr.: 2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str

Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

separate part
for violin and small orchestra , 18’
Instr.: 2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str

Lichtes Spiel

Wolfgang Rihm: Lichtes Spiel

study score
for violin and small orchestra , 18’
Instr.: 2 2 0 0 - 2 0 0 0, str

World première

Location:
New York
Date:
18.11.2010
Orchestra:
New York Philharmonic
Conductor:
Michael Francis

Press reviews

"Mr. Rihm achieved his goal of writing 'something light but not lightweight' with this appealing work. Its transparent textures are detailed and finely wrought, played primarily in soft dynamic registers."

(Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times)

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