As with many others of Rihm’s works, the keyword to this music is Gesang, as he lets the instruments sing again and again; in his Doppelgesängen they sing with one voice, as if a single instrument were playing. “Janus singing,” as the composer says. The long, sustained notes generate terrific tension for about 5,5 minutes, until dance-like material is introduced in a short, bright section. The moment is almost surreal – it is gone again as quickly as it came and the prevailing atmosphere of the music returns.
Translation © 2012 by Grant Chorley