WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): 4 Studien zu einem Klarinettenquintett, 4 Male for Solo Clarinet.
Catalogue Number: 07M116
Label: Ars Musici
Description: '4 Studies' is a more substantial work than the title suggests, more a large (45-minute) 4-movement structure related to classical and romantic models in the genre. The first piece is cast in the rather Bergian very-late romantic mold that Rihm has adopted in the past decade or so; he second is a fast, motoric scherzo; the third is an essay in lyrical intensity, and the final study recalls the first, diversifying into music of different characters. There are strong undertones of tonality to this highly chromatic, emotionally charged and expressive language. The 'Vier Male' are a good deal less driven by musical argument; these are the works that sound like studies, in fact. Rihm's long-standing preoccupation with instrumental virtuosity and the specific potential of a given instrument is here applied to the clarinet, with extreme contrasts of dynamic and register, and constant microtonal inflections to the melodic line. The technical demands largely avoid extended techniques in the usual sense, but push the limits of conventional playing in their demands for dynamic control in extreme registers and precise control of pitch. Jörg Widmann (clarinet), Minguet Quartet.