Recorded on November 26-28, 2001.
Curious how a composer's piano oeuvre can be considered as a separate entity from his other works.Postmodernity rides this free plurality to some degree, to be free in a Spinoza-ist way yet with cautions and guidelines as you indulge your self-indulgences in your creative psychology."Be violent, yet with caution, everyone else is" Why not try it out!". The piano solo for Rihm has plenty of self-indulgent gestures,with years separating their creation. Freely free to be graphic,morose,penumbral,violent and gratuitously brutal is the aesthetic. Rihm's piano works has been more like an after-thought, and here you can sense the "weight"the "persuasions" of the other works created within the same period, as the long programmatic half-hour "Third Quartet"(subtitled "Im Innersten"(From Deep Within) with the "Fifth Piano Piece" here, all written in 1975. The Fourth and (also the Fifth) Piano Pieces likewise hovers within the conceptual frame of his large scale orchestral work "Dis-Kontur". That or both pieces exposed the harbored graphic natures.The "Fifth Piano Piece" is a richly defined work with again obvious extroversions at work(at Play really)flailing gestures, breaking textures and wanting to be free of something.Rihm's piano writing is fairly commonplace with a healthy dose of the frenzied the overbearing from a page of modernities lexicon, more with constructive affinities to leitmotiv of Schoenberg than region-bearing(clusters) of Stockhausen.Predictable lower octaves in the impressive "Seventh Piano Piece" are utilized as our guide through the projections of the ideas, here working,lumbering from measure to measure, again almost afraid of its own shadow,not wanting to proceed too far from itself.All the registers are rung out.The piece is almost ill-disciplined if not for its obvious "rondo-like form. But Rihm works at ideas in a line, a breakthrough in concept in one genre is sure to influence every genre he then proceeds to work in.The orchestral timbres from "Dis-Kontur" in the "Fifth Piano Piece" are surely heard herein.
The two early works Piano Pieces #s 1 (1970)and 2 (1971)are really dedications to his earliest of composition mentors Stockhausen. These two pieces are furthest from the "Rihm" aesthetic you may know,he openly admits this, that he had not really found himself that early as yet.The "Rihm" aesthetic you may know is constructed with darkly spattered full-bodied timbres deeply constituted within the Central Eurocentric aesthetic.You can label it Neo-Expressionist/Romantic to some degree very similar in tone,in gesture in program to the painter Georg Baselitz, but with music we find more obvious programmatic gestures to texts from German history,references and objects.(Heiner Mueller's "Hamletmachine"(1986) Bretano,Nietsche.)
The "Seventh Piano Piece"is one of the highlights here with its alternating clipped "forces" of fff to ppp,from beat to beat in accentuations. It has a menacing way about it, the rhythms mostly projected in lower brass-like octaves of the piano.It never lets you escape from its commading-like voice. Still the genre "piano piece" seems to be more interesting a frame than his "Nachstudie" dedicated to friends,patrons and power-brokers within established music.
Bernard Wambach plays very well, never allows for any pretty timbre to come through the discourse here.