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Wolfgang Rihm: 2. Symphonie

  • (first and last movement) (1975)
  • for large orchestra
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(6), hp, pno, org, str(at least 16 14 12 10 8)
  • Duration: 15’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc)
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    bass tuba
    percussion (6 players)
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
  • Dedication: für Eva und Armin

Work introduction

“First and last movement” is parenthesised below the title; yet the piece is not in one movement. The first part, lasting 10 minutes, is followed after a short pause by a Marcia funebre of four minutes duration.

23-year-old Rihm scored his Symphony No. 2 for large orchestra, including six percussionists and a string ensemble of at least 60 players. Tremendous tension characterises the first part, the music reflecting a bitter, dramatic struggle; a doomsday atmosphere predominates, the orchestra sometimes sounding like a gigantic organ with solemn unisono chords. The marcia funebre is not funeral music; it is a determined revolt against fate, like soldiers carrying the hero to his grave in full armour.


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Berlin (DE)
RSO Berlin
Hiroshi Wakasugi

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