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Wolfgang Rihm: Cuts and Dissolves

  • Orchesterskizzen (1976)
  • for orchestra
  • 2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 1 - perc(3), hp, pno, vln(3), vla(2), vc(2), cb(2)
  • Duration: 17’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+alto fl
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    1st trumpet
    2nd trumpet
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    1st violin
    2nd violin
    3rd violin
    1st viola
    2nd viola
    1st violoncello
    2nd violoncello
    1st contrabass
    2nd contrabass
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm

Work introduction

Rihm chose this title for the first of his works commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain; he composed it when he was 24 and it was premiered shortly before his 25th birthday, conducted by Michael Gielen. Borrowed from cinematography, the name perhaps indicates the short sections which make up the piece (whence surely the subtitle “Orchestra Sketches” as well).

The music evinces the young composer’s sense of drama, tension and Klangfarbe (percussion, harp and piano are prominent), including huge outbursts, the percussion predominating. Just before the dramatic finale, a quiet, barren landscape appears, as if the preceding storms had left their traces behind.

Translation: Grant Chorley


World première

Paris (FR)
Ensemble Intercontemporain
Michael Gielen

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