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Wolfgang Rihm: Abkehr

  • for orchestra
  • 5 4 5 4 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), str
  • Duration: 8’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st piccolo
    2nd piccolo
    3rd piccolo
    4th piccolo
    5th piccolo
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    4th oboe
    1st clarinet in A
    2nd clarinet in A
    3rd clarinet in A
    4th clarinet in A
    5th clarinet in A
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd 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
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm

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Work introduction

The genesis of this work was a commission from the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, asking Wolfgang Rihm to write a prologue to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. Rihm’s composition takes stock of Mahler’s symphonic achievement and uses its often fractured language as its starting point for his own deeply personal form of expression. The result runs the whole gamut of styles between the extremes of weighty hammer blows and Adagio cantilena. There is a great variety of percussive sounds, from tapping on wood to bright, metallic striking, which occasionally form a bridge to the interjections of woodwind and brass. The title Abkehr – literally ‘renunciation’ indicates that, for Rihm, it was not a question of ‘turning towards’ but, on the contrary, of asserting his own, uncompromising standpoint.


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Zürich (CH)
Junge Deutsche Philharmonie
Gary Bertini

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