WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Über die Linie II for Clarinet and Orchestra, Coll'Arco for Violin and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 04N087
Label: Hännsler Classic
Reference: CD 93.283
Description: The clarinet concerto is quite extraordinary for a contemporary piece by a former avant-gardiste; an almost unbroken line of lyrical soliloquy - not quite 'melody', at least not all the time - accompanied by the subtlest of orchestral shadings, mostly undemonstrative, but often full of emotion, nostalgia and a very Romantic sense of longing and resignation. Aside from some microtonal gestures there is nothing 'extended' about the techniques required, apart from the fact that both the required upper register and demands on the player's endurance and control are very extended indeed. The violin concerto, from a decade later, continues this sense of continuous lyrical flow. Here, aspects of harmony and gesture pay obvious tribute to Berg's violin concerto, and bold dramatic interactions between soloist (an athletic and intricate part) and generously scored orchestral accompaniment are not so far from the æsthetic of great Romantic virtuoso vehicles of previous generations (here too, the composer does not shy away from allowing the music a strong tonal pull. Rihm's late flowering 100+ year old romantic idiom is as unexpected in our time as it is profoundly satisfying, and it is perfectly summed up in these gorgeous pieces. Jörg Widmann (clarinet), Caroline Widmann (violin), SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg.