Notes & Reviews:
This release presents the world première recording of Wolfgang Rihm's latest orchestral work, the symphony Nähe fern (Near Far), commissioned by and composed in close collaboration with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under its principal conductor, James Gaffigan. The score is divided into four parts, designed to preface Brahms's four symphonies. True to the work's title, each section is a homage profoundly linked with its model, yet at the same time constantly moving away from it. Nähe fern is coupled with Rihm's setting of a Goethe poem that gave the work its title, Dämmrung senkte sich von oben. It contains the line, "Dämmrung senkte sich von oben / Schon ist alle Nähe fern" (Twilight has fallen from above, / Already all nearness is distant). Originally written for voice and piano, the song is heard here in a setting for baritone and orchestra featuring Hans Christoph Begemann.
Hans Christoph Begemann is about as fine a Lieder singer as we have any right to expect. His voice is smooth and even throughout its range... he captivates with his story-telling ability and sense of drama.
Financial Times, 27th April 2013
The most prolific of German composers writes four pieces as pendants to the Brahms symphonies.
International Record Review, May 2013
There's considerable refinement in the playing and Gaffigan avoids drawing undue attention to Brahmsian references - letting them emerge without forcing the point, which was surely Rihm's intention...A thoroughly worthwhile release.
MusicWeb International, 22nd July 2013
The playing of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester under James Gaffigan is sharp, incisive, appropriately-paced and precisely focused. Yet it's also playing which admits of exploration, reflection and an unhurried examination of the priorities which a modern composer has - particularly texture and melody, harmony and tempo.
Sunday Times, 7th April 2013
The incalculably prolific Rihm has added another large, unusual opus to his oeuvre...Fragments of the canonical masterpieces tantalisingly punctuate these curious essayistic meditations that seem to combine a sort of brooding languor with a determined cutting edge.
The Guardian, 25th April 2013
Typically, Rihm seems empowered rather than restricted by the weight of tradition.
American Record Guide, September/October 2013
This type of piece is fascinating. Rihm is not trying to sound exactly like Brahms; he's trying to allow more of Brahms into his writing. This piece adds to a collection of Brahms-inspired works that Rihm is amassing, among his already vast catalog of works. These performances are excellent, and the record will make a great addition for a collector of Rihm's music or for a fan of Brahms who might be curious to hear a contemporary composer's take on the four symphonies.
Recording information: Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (06/2012).
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Works DetailsRihm, Wolfgang : Symphonie "Nähe fern", for baritone & orchestra
- Conductor: James Gaffigan
- Ensemble: Luzerner Sinfonieorchester
- Running Time: 12 min. 13 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Form: Orchestral
- Written: 2012