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Wolfgang Rihm: Das Lesen der Schrift

  • 4 pieces (2001-2002)
  • for orchestra
  • 2 1 2 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, hp(2), org, str
  • Duration: 17’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    oboe
    1st clarinet in A
    2nd clarinet in A
    bassoon
    contrabassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    contrabass tuba
    timpani
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    organ
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
  • Dedication: für Kent Nagano und das Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester (DSO), Berlin
  • Commission: ROC GmbH (Berlin)

Work introduction

Jörg Königsdorf interviews Wolfgang Rihm:

Doesn't the intercession of a contemporary composer have the effect of pushing Brahms' musical language into the distant, historical past?

No.  It's as if there were four monochrome panels hanging in a Gothic chapel or, somewhat more colourfully, four large canvases by Anselm Kiefer. It was, in fact, Kiefer's Basle exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler  that provided me with some very important ideas and inspiration for the work at hand.  The original idea, however, goes back a long way: Das Lesen der Schrift refers to the process of decoding, gradually becoming aware of textual relationships encapsulated in symbols.  It can also be a metaphor of decoding a musical text.

Out of the murmurings of doubt I began moulding pieces of silence, baking  bits out of introversion and concealment, and came upon paths leading into the inaccessible – touching upon, if not actually depicting, the inner movement of a mourning process step by step.  And in doing so, I altered its form.  The four pieces add up to a self-standing composition, of course.  They don't necessarily have to remain bound to this rather daring one-off attempt to respond to – and simultaneously question – the great Brahms Requiem from the inside.

Sequence of Movements:

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
„Ein deutsches Requiem“ op. 45 (1868)
I. „Selig sind, die da Leid tragen“
II. „Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras“

Wolfgang Rihm (* 1952)
„Reading of the Scripts“ Four Pieces for Orchestra (2001/2002)
I. Piece No 1 (very slow)

Johannes Brahms
„Ein deutsches Requiem“ op. 45
III. „Herr, lehre doch mich“

Wolfgang Rihm
„Reading of the Scripts“
II. Piece No 2 (very slow)

Johannes Brahms
„Ein deutsches Requiem“ op. 45
IV. „Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen“
V. „Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit“

Wolfgang Rihm
„Reading of the Scripts“
III. Piece No 3 (calmly)

Johannes Brahms
„Ein deutsches Requiem“ op. 45
VI. „Denn wir haben hier keine bleibende Statt“

Wolfgang Rihm
„Reading of the Scripts“
IV. Piece No 4 (very calmly)
(„Consolation“)

Johannes Brahms
„Ein deutsches Requiem“ op. 45
VII. „Selig sind die Toten“

Audiosamples

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Next performances

World première

Location:
Philharmonie Berlin, Berlin (DE)
Date:
16.03.2002
Orchestra:
Deutsches SO Berlin
Conductor:
Kent Nagano

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