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Wolfgang RIHM

Pursued Form; Hidden Forms;Chiffre 1;Silence to be beaten
Klangforum Wien/Sylvain Cambreling/ Marino Formenti (piano)
Kairos 0012072KAI [47.47]
Amazon US

Four fairly short works from 1982-97 are collected here. Silence to be beaten has been played in England. It is preoccupied with momentum, starting with extremes of tempo, leading to a regular pulse which steadily accelerates. A prominent piano is challenged by melodic fragments with contradictory rhythms and syncopations, and disruptive percussion. Towards the end there are long, precisely measured rests - 'silences to be beaten'. Chiffre (a cipher) for piano & seven instruments is a short, abrasive piece a 'generative pole that continues to generate more music'. The two more recent 'Form' pieces use most of the Vienna Klangforum's 24 members.

The music on this release is mostly rather obscure and (to my ears) not listener-friendly; the notes by Rihm himself are even more obscure - totally impenetrable and unhelpful.

Wolfgang Rihm (born 1952) is unquestionably one of the most prominent and important of contemporary German composers and has been recorded extensively. To approach him first in a more sympathetic light, I can warmly recommend Anne-Sophie Mutter's recording of his violin concerto Time Chant [Deutsche Grammophon 463 790-2].

Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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