ROLF RIEHM (b.1937): Die Tränen des Gletschers, Nuages immortels oder Focusing On Solos (Medea in Avignon), Berceuse.
Catalogue Number: 05M101
Reference: TLS 128
Description: In his more recent works, Riehm has moved away from extended-technique sonic novelty of the Lachenmannic type in favor of a less complex, more direct approach. A good case in point is 1998's 'Tears of the Glacier' in which the composer suggests a harsh landscape in terms of pure black and white - blocks of sound, and their corresponding negative space. Although not used quite conventionally - there is an extended accompanied cadenza for the percussion 'whip', for instance - the orchestra plays using established techniques. harmonically, there are even suggestions of tonality, of a sort; huge block chords strongly recall Messiaen's Easter Island statues. Nuages consists of a succession of solos separated by similar huge block chords; then a very Romantic-sounding take on the music and mythology of ancient Greece, then a section built on the obsessive repetition of a largely unadorned c minor chord. The much earlier Berceuse, from the mid-1980s, is more obviously avant garde and texturally complex, though largely avoiding extended techniques and microtones it does incorporate some unorthodox sound sources. The impressively monumental nature of these works, especially the two more recent, renders them more accessible than their modernist pedigree might suggest. SWF Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg; Hans Zender (and, in Berceuse, Michael Gielen, Carmen-Maria Carneci and Tobias Wahren).