Wolfgang Rihm: Chiffre III

  • for 12 players
  • 0 1 1 1 - 1 0 1 0 - perc(2), pno, bass tpt, vc(2), cb
  • Duration: 10’
  • Instrumentation details:
    cor anglais
    bass clarinet in Bb
    bassoon (+cbsn)
    horn in F
    bass trumpet
    1st violoncello
    2nd violoncello
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
  • Dedication: Komponiert für das „ensemble 13“ (Manfred Reichert)
  • Commission: Im Auftrag des Kultusministeriums Baden-Württemberg

Work introduction

As in the first two Chiffres, the piano has a solo role in Chiffre III. It enters with a striking theme immediately after an introduction featuring tom-toms. A bass clarinet and a bassoon accompany the theme, suggesting a quotation; two bars follow with rhythm reminiscent of Stravinsky. The theme and its fragments will return several times (in the cor anglais, for instance) like a type of signal (= chiffre). There are other signal-like motifs, appearing as a kind of commentary on the dramatic events in the piece. A bell and a police whistle also provide signals, while the piano transforms into a “piano furioso”, as in the previous Chiffres, raging isterico and martellatissimo in a strange, secretive musical world.

Translation: Grant Chorley


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Karlsruhe (DE)
Ensemble 13
Manfred Reichert

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