Wolfgang Rihm – Jagden und Formen – Nähe Fern
Wolfgang Rihm (*1952) studied in particular with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Wolfgang Fortner. Prolix composer (400 works…). He could have been, some few years ago, arranged among the conservative, the reactionaries; this is totally wrong and a certain expressivity could not certainly harm.
Jagden und Formen (Huntings and forms) for small orchestra belongs to his works “in becoming” (1995/2001).
The interview of the author appearing in the booklet of the CD is amusing: each question is almost always answered “no”, no the preceding compositions included in this work “Gedrängte Form”, “Gejagte Form” and “Verborgene Formen” are not textually quoted, no “Jagden und Formen” does not comprise scenes of hunting with quarry which would appear and no there is no predetermined form which would be then filled up with notes.
The work starts with a duet of violins, decorated by the double bass, joined by the whole quartet, then by woods, around a jerked motive which will be taken again several times during the work. The disc was edited by the composer to guide the listener through some moments of the work. Hieratic passages (brass) are followed by a kind of cantilena of the English horn. One will find further of past events, like a dialogue between brass and winds (the passage given in example below) which points out the initial duet of violins. Passages in brass chorus alternate with others which could make think of the “concerto grosso”. Towards the end the orchestra of a around 20 musicians has the power of a symphony orchestra, the end which seems besides to be sought for finally disappearing in silence. Let us say that it is a playful music, but in a general severe tone.
Ensemble Modern and Domenica My, DG excel – 2001 – Correct sound recording.
I was interested less by this work, a command from the Luzers Festival: 4 parts inspired (“remote proximities”) of the 4 symphonies by Brahms; the general tonality makes think of the orchestral version of Arnold Schoenberg of the quartet n°1 for piano oby Brahms (1937); the reminiscences – besides some rare passages – are indeed quite remote, the whole sounds a little as a soppy Schoenberg … (Luzern orchestra dir. James Gaffigan – Harmonia mundi – 2012)