Wolfgang Rihm: Sotto voce

Wolfgang Rihm Sotto voce
Sotto voce

Wolfgang Rihm: Sotto voce

Year of composition:
1999
Subtitle:
Notturno
Scored for:
for piano and small orchestra
Composer:
Wolfgang Rihm
Soloists:
piano
Instrumentation:
2 2 1 1 - 2 0 0 0 - timp, hp, str(max. 10 8 6 6 4)
Instrumentation details:
piccolo
flute
oboe
cor anglais
clarinet in A
bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
timpani
harp
str(max. 10 8 6 6 4)
Commission:
Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester und das Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Duration:
14’
Dedication:
dem spielenden und dirigierenden Daniel Barenboim gewidmet
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Audiosamples

Sotto voce
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

When Daniel Barenboim asked me to create a piece for his Mozart-programme I absolutely wanted to extend the idea of employing Daniel Barenboim as soloist to encompass the wonderful pianissimo sound he produces on the piano. I had listened to him several times already and was always captivated by these uniquely played pianissimi. Therefore I wrote a nocturne in which I filled this piano experience with thoughts about the possible or impossible invention of today’s artistic beauty.
Everything is supposed to emerge from within itself as naturally as possible. Nothing more or less. Admittedly, this is also what I try to achieve in other pieces. But this time it became something visibly unprotected - at least that is what I felt when I wrote it - something completely open, also something obvious, which however seemed to make it cryptic at the same time. Was I perhaps on Mozart’s trail? Or did Busoni play the left hand in Zurich and the right in Berlin? Or - ? In any case I spoke in a low voice. With my hand covering my mouth as it were. Sotto voce. Was I scared? Was I not allowed to get 'caught'? Doing what? Art is tough. Once you get involved in it, it does not stop bothering you. It often seems so simple to define what is new. Simple because it shows the exact labelling of its components as 'new'. But what happens when the means themselves seem to be comprehensible but what is said is strange and weird? Then the flags rattle. In this respect each attempt 'bends with the wind'. Even when it doesn’t rage. But be silent, there they start...

Wolfgang Rihm

(Translation: Dorit Luczak)

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World première

Location:
Berlin
Date:
22.05.1999
Orchestra:
Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester
Conductor:
Daniel Barenboim

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