WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Symphony "Nahe fern", Dämmrung senkte sich von oben for Baritone and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 05O084
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Reference: HMC 902153
Description: In the four orchestral pieces that make up this 'Distant Closeness' symphony, both the proximity and eventual distancing are to and from the Brahms symphonies, to which Rihm pays tribute here. These works are in the rich, almost suffocatingly chromatic very-late romanticism-derived vocabulary that Rihm has made so tellingly his own in recent years. Each contains, not quotations, but recognizable echoes or pre-echoes of the corresponding Brahms symphony, as though in an unformed state, yet to coalesce into Brahms' own structures - characteristic rhythms, harmonies or fragmentary motifs. Interpolated between the first two movements is Rihm's orchestration of his own setting of a late Goethe poem, also set by Brahms, which provides clues to the subtly blurred, ambiguous, shadowy nature of the relationship of Rihm's work to Brahms'. By refracting Brahms' music through the prism of his own æsthetic in this way, Rihm intriguingly relates Brahms to the developments in music that followed not long after him, and confirms Schoenberg's assessment of Brahms as a progressive composer, leading into a future in which Schoenberg himself, and Rihm, became inevitable. German-English text. Hans Christoph Begemann (baritone), Lucerne Symphony Orchestra; James Gaffigan.