WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Oedipus.
Catalogue Number: 02O077
Label: Arthaus Musik
Reference: 101 658
Description: Rihm's version of the dipus myth, to his own libretto, is based on Sophocles in Hölderlin's translation, with interpolated layers of commentary taken from texts by Nietzsche and Heiner Müller. The action follows that of the familiar tragedy, as set most famously by Stravinsky, but the psychological suffering of the characters and philosophical musings on the implications of their nature are elaborated in extended monologues and ensembles. Prior events and the messengers' accounts are seen in flashback scenes. Dating from the mid-1980s, Rihm's vocabulary here is the harshly dissonant, freely atonal and highly expressive one that propelled him to prominence in the avant-garde, and distinguished him from adherents to strict compositional systems of the time. The chorus is pre-recorded, with some electronic manipulation, and the drama mostly rests on the large ensemble of soloists, whose sung parts are angular and modern while never resorting to extended vocal effects. The orchestration consists almost entirely of winds, brass and percussion, creating a harsh, confrontational sound world, with the piercing sound of violins appearing only in the blinding scene over an hour into the piece. This kind of symbolism is a constant feature of Götz Friedrich's characteristically visually striking production, here filmed for TV with multiple camera angles and close-ups. Deutsche Oper Berlin 1987. Andreas Schmidt (baritone), William Pell (tenor), William Dooley (bass-baritone), Emily Golden (mezzo), Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Christoph Prick. 4:3 full-screen. PCM stereo. NTSC all regions. 105 min.