The highly percussive, battering nature of the opening of Dis-Kontur (1974) speaks more of primal matters than it does of highly structured modernism. Rihm claims that he wrote the introduction to this piece in one go, and intuitively at that. It was only later that he realized that the accents lay in the proportions 5:7:2:9, ratios that he went on to utilize in the internal construction of the piece. Rihm sees his music as in the Austro-German tradition (he mentions not only Beethoven, Bruckner, and Mahler as part of this line, but also Hartmann).
Jan’s latest album will feature Double Concertos by Brahms, Rihm, and Harbison, performed with violinist Mira Wang. Double Concertos, recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Peter Oundjian, will be available on Sony Classical.
Wolfgang Rihm (born in 1952) is one of the most important European composers of the late twentieth to early twenty first centuries, but his work is little known in America. He is famous for his productivity; before his 50th birthday, he had written over 400 pieces. The four concertos recorded here are similar in their manic energy, offering few moments of repose. The expressive directions for Music for oboe and orchestra include the instructions "as if overwound," "wild and funny," and "frantic," and those phrases aptly describe the effect of his work. Rihm is an unabashed modernist, and the surface of his music may be too prickly for some listeners, but it's deeply expressive, and at times very funny, such as at the end of the oboe concerto.
Wolfgang Rihm is a real phenomenon: his overwhelming creative energy was already present during his childhood. He began composing when he was only 11 years old, long before his studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe where he successfully passed the state examination in composition and music theory. The current CD featuring string quartets and quintets presents works from the early and late stages of his compositional oeuvre.
Wolfgang Rihm is one of the world's most eminent and prolific composers. His works for violin and piano encompass almost his entire compositional career from Hekton in 1972 to the solo violin +œber die Linie VII in 2006. Each draws on a wide range of influences from folk-like moments embedded quotations and dazzlingly virtuosic episodes. They reflect the breadth of Rihm's various changing styles which are almost unique in today's music in marrying contemporary technique with emotionally powerful resonances.