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Morphonie / Klangbeschreibung 1-3


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Audio CD, January 9, 2001
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: SWR Sinfonieorchester
  • Conductor: Michael Gielen, Ernest Bour
  • Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
  • Audio CD (January 9, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Haenssler Classics
  • ASIN: B0000560KV
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,307 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Morphonie - Wolfgang Hock/Karl Steeb/Enrique Santiago/Anton Kasmeier
2. Klangbeschreibung I
Disc: 2
1. Klangbeschreibung II - Ingrid Ade-Jesemann/Monika Bair-Jvenz/Christa Muckenheim/Christine Whittlesey
2. Klangbeschreibung III

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Albrecht Moritz on July 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
"Klangbeschreibung" (Sound description), 1987, is a composition of massive scale, and it is dark and heavy of character. Klangbeschreibung I (K I) lasts 20 min. (for three orchestral groups), K II lasts close to 30 min. (for 4 female voices, 5 brass players and 6 percussionists) and K III lasts close to 40 min. (for large orchestra). A total of close to 90 min. of music, this giant of a composition lasts pretty much as long as the longest Mahler symphony!
"Klangbeschreibung" is just phenomenal. Although I like pretty much everything I've heard so far by this composer, with this work for certain Rihm clearly establishes himself to me as a worthy successor to the great post-war generation of composers (Boulez, Stockhausen, Carter, Xenakis, Birtwistle, Ligeti - when he's up to form, Lutoslawski and others). A torch-bearer for the future. This composition has everything I expect from the hands of a truly great composer: unique and personal language, utmost authority, wonderful imagination, inevitability of musical argument, consummate handling of musical tension, etc. What's more, in the years I have delved into the rich, truly exciting realms of great atonal music, not often have I been excited and adrenaline-rushed that much by a musical composition (except by the best Stockhausen and a few others), and have I been left with such a crushing, weighty impression of it! This seems to me a giant under all compositions, not only post-war but any period of Western art music. A landmark in music, and I would say in my view one of the stand-out compositions of the entire 20th century. Wow, did I say that? Apparently I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on April 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This two-disc set includes "Morphonie" for orchestra with solo string quartet (1972 -- 40'10) and "Klangbeschreibung I-III" (1987 -- 87'10). Both were premiered by the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg at the Donaueschinger Musiktage: "Morphonie" in 1974 and "Klangbeschreibung" in 1987. These recordings were made in the studio, based on the same intensive rehearsals. "Morphonie" is led by Ernest Bour, while "Klangbeschreibung" is led by Michael Gielen.

It was with the premiere of "Morphonie" that the 22-year old Wolfgang Rihm made his public debut. "Morphonie" made a huge impact as it challenged the then-prevailing post-serialist idiom with its bold energy and use of Romantic gestures, including the moving tonal concluding passage from the strings, evoking Mahler and Berg. Following a crescendo punctuated by piano and percussion, a string quartet section begins shortly after the 20-minute mark and continues, periodically accompanied and interrupted by piano, for nine minutes. Clearly Rihm had absorbed the Second Vienna School as well as the main line of the Austro-German tradition, and proved capable of using putting this heritage at the service of a powerful vision and fresh language. He was to follow "Morphonie" with several more works in a similar vein through the 1970s (for instance Dis-Kontur/Lichtzwang/Sub-Kontur -- see my review).

Rihm elaborated on his initial breakthroughs in the decade of the 1980s, with major works including the "dance poem"
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I appreciate the two previous reviewers because without their input I would be lost trying to grapple with the second, longer work in this two Cd set, called SOUND DESCRIPTION. It is an utterly austere and strikes me as a work that very slowly disengaged itself from Rihm's interior life to become manifest as a three-part orchestral-vocal composition. After three years of listenening to it on occasion, and benefiting from both reviewers before me, I am still a novice toward it. B-U-T my rapport with MORPHONIE was immediate and exhilarating, and it continuies to excite and fulfil me after repeated listenings. This was my Threshold Experience of Rihm's music: everything I know about him, his aesthetic, and actual performances derives from this work and my love for it. Partly this stems from the Second Vienna School which I sense throughout, in fact I often imagine I am in Vienna listening to this music. Both its loud and soft pasages derive from the Expressionist emphasis on extreme emotional states, and the dogged quest for spiritual transcendence. MORPHONIE is a response to Tristan's Cry of the Heart in his Act III Delirium. It doesn't provide answers - music cannot articulate ideas. Rather it transforms your inner self and puts you in accord with its Transfigured Night. If you want to know what it says, read the poems of Trakl before listening to its 40 minutes of ecstasy.
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Morphonie  / Klangbeschreibung 1-3
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