From a composer whose vast output plunders the stylistic gamut of western musical history and then some, here is a single movement requiem full of clean lines and troubled introspection. Et Lux is a 2009 composition for voices and string quartet in which Rihm dwells on certain phrases of the Latin death mass – particularly the notion of eternal light, which he calls “comforting yet deeply disturbing”. The same could be said of Et Lux as a whole. Tropes waft in from across the ages: this music treads the line of tangibility, with sudden rushes of anger or fondness and the messy half-memories that come with grief. The strings complete phrases that the singers can’t seem to summon. Conductor Paul van Nevel doubles the vocal parts to create broad, generous textures that sound lovely and lush against the strings’ icy clarity – all qualities that ECM’s engineers are expert at capturing.
This two-disc set includes "Morphonie" for orchestra with solo string quartet (1972 – 40'10) and "Klangbeschreibung I-III" (1987 – 87'10). Both were premiered by the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg at the Donaueschinger Musiktage: "Morphonie" in 1974 and "Klangbeschreibung" in 1987. These recordings were made in the studio, based on the same intensive rehearsals. "Morphonie" is led by Ernest Bour, while "Klangbeschreibung" is led by Michael Gielen…….Autonomeus @ Amazon.com
Wolfgang Rihm has had a long and varied career, which Hanssler's Rihm Edition aims to document by exploring the archives of German radio orchestras. This disc here focuses on the period when he first came to prominence in the European contemporary music scene. In the 1970s, Rihm was writing in an effusive expressionistic style, often going with the white-hot inspiration of any given moment instead of an elaborate preconceived form. The SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg perform three works in this vein…..Christopher Culver @ Amazon.com
“This CD with the first four string quartets reflects the interesting path of Rihm’s artistic development. The Minguet Quartet approaches the first two, shorter, works with audibly high concentration without relinquishing, in the frenzy of high-energy playing, their own cultivated sound born from quartet tradition. Here, Rihm’s third quartet, with its not unproblematic subtitle ‘Im Innersten’ (‘at the innermost core’), does not become self-indulgent ….Klassik Heute, September, 2003
Wolfgang Rihm’s compositions for string quartet, as extensive as they are varied, share no clear common denominator. Despite all the variety that exists, his string quartets have from the beginning been a constant element in his oeuvre: So far, there are thirteen quartets, as well as ten other compositions for or with a string quartet – a selection of these works can be found on this CD……
The Minguett Quartet recorded nearly the full cycle of Wolfgang Rihm's string quartets for Collegno, and it's a shame these discs are now out of print. The Minguett Quartet are Ulrich Isfort and Annette Reisinger (violins), Aroa Sorin (viola) and Matthias Diener (cello). On this volume of the cycle, we find three quartets from the 1990s and early millennium, a time when Rihm returned to the effusive expressionism that had first made him famous, after a few years of wispy, piannissimo music imitative of Nono and Lachenmann…….Christopher Culver @ Amazon.com
Col Legno's third volume of Wolfgang Rihm's string quartets is, like its predecessors, an album of vigorous and challenging works that defy easy descriptions, resist stylistic associations, and put listeners on their mettle. If the fragmentary gestures, sudden digressions, and unconventional sounds (wood blocks, voices) of the String Quartet No. 7, "Veränderungen" (1985), are signs of Rihm's restless search for a music freed of expectations, then the …..Blair Sanderson @ AllMusic.com
That the two single-movement string quartets No. 5 (“Ohne Titel”) and No. 6 (“Blaubuch”), composed in 1981/83 and 1984, belong to the most passionate of Rihm’s quartets is due to their restless vigor. This impulsive approach is of course always present in his music. But even the tempo indications “fast, restless” and “fast und free” suggest a certain stringency - which is fully realized in the pieces. A sense of inner disquiet pulls …..