WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): String Quartet in G, String Quartet 1968, Geste zu Vedova, Epilog for String Quintet.
Catalogue Number: 07T066
Reference: WER 7346 2
Description: This disc presents works from almost the opposite ends of the prolific composer's career to date, and a fascinating juxtaposition it is too. "Gesture to Vedova" was written two years ago. It refers to Emilio Vedova (1919–2006), the Italian artist (who fruitfully collaborated with Nono on set designs) and his viscerally dynamic canvases, teeming with powerful, abrupt brush strokes. If Deborah Pritchard's Violin Concerto elsewhere in this catalogue (07T077) is more of an emotional response to Maggi Hambling's wave paintings, Rihm's quartet is about as close an aural analogue of its visual inspiration as can be imagined, with its stabbing sforzati tutti and aggressive dynamism. The Quartet in G - yes, in G! - of a half-century earlier (the composer was 14) would be a strong and interesting work even without knowing its status as juvenilia. The young composer clearly had Beethoven in mind as a model, but texturally and in its demonstrative vehemence it foreshadows the recent work to an uncanny degree. The quartet from two years later has some similarities with the earlier one, but already the Beethovenian model is seen through a chromatic lens that suggests early acquaintance with the Second Viennese School. Epilogue (2012-13) is more typical of Rihm's recent work than Geste, in that it explores a heightened Romanticism (albeit with an agglomerate of extended-technique modernism superimposed on it), in this case related to Schubert's late Quintet. Minguet Quartet, Jens Peter Mainz (cello - Epilog).