WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Sieben Passions-Texte for 6 Voices (first complete recording), Quo me rapis for 6 Solo Voices, Mit geschlossenem Mund (first recording), LUIGI NONO (1924-1990): Sarà dolce tacere for 8 Solo Voices, ¿Donde estás, hermano? for 2 Sopranos, Mezzo-Soprano and Contralto.
Catalogue Number: 12Q063
Reference: AECD 1441
Description: The main work here is the first complete recording of Rihm's Passion Texts, settings of the Tenebrae service for Easter week. Rihm's music makes full acknowledgement of the rich legacy of prior settings of these emotionally charged texts, from the Renaissance onward. Indeed, the tortured chromaticism and sustained dissonances of some passages directly recall Gesualdo. Nowhere does Rihm use extended vocal techniques or anything remotely avant garde, and the only characteristic that reveals this as a modern work is the incorporation of styles from different periods - romantic chordal harmony reminiscent of Bruckner's Motets, for instance, and some heightened dissonances and use of extended punctuating silences that would not be found in pre-20th century religious music. The music is coolly, gravely beautiful, its somber palette sensitively matching the mood of the texts. The shorter works demonstrate the (readily acknowledged) influence of Nono on Rihm, for instance in the crystalline fragments of sound separated by immense, resounding silences that make up the former's ¿Donde estas, hermano? and the latter's Quo me rapis. Fundamental differences between the composers' aesthetics are also evident here; Nono's work, dedicated to the 'disappeared' of Argentina, is a protesting work, each utterance a pained cry, while Rihm's is a celebration of poetic inspiration (the text from Horace, Ode III, 25), culminating in a blaze of full-textured creative glory, vastly removed from the icy shards of Nono's textures. Latin, Italian-English texts. Exaudi; James Weeks.