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Works by Rihl, Leyendecker and Neurath at the Bachfest 2017

At this year’s Bachfest Leipzig (9-18 June 2017), world premieres of new works by Osmo Tapio Räihälä and Ulrich Leyendecker will be presented during the course of the event “Bach in the Mirror of Modernism” on 15 June 2017. The Leipzig Sinfonietta will perform the ensemble works “Mural” by Räihälä and “Aprèslude noir” by Leyendecker under the direction of Moritz Gnann at the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

In addition, four canons from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “The Art of Fugue” (BWV 1080) in the adaptation by Jochen Neurath will be presented at this concert. The entire cycle of this adaptation for chamber orchestra was already premiered by the Leipzig Sinfonietta in 2007. Jochen Neurath comments as follows: “In Bach’s ‘The Art of Fugue’ the four canons represent a type of essence. The incredibly dense counterpoint which not only encompasses the texture of the voices in relation to each other, but also the internal construction of the individual voices, is audible here in transparent clarity. The individual voice that enters into dialogue with itself in these canons is, at each given moment, structured by means of one or even several of the basic motifs of the overall work. Here is where my adaptation of this late work of Bach has its point of departure. In the tradition of Webern’s version of the 6-part Ricercar from the ‘Musical Offering’, each individual link of the motivic chain is assigned to a different instrument, so that the course of the voices is fanned out like a kaleidoscope in different timbres. This procedure also finds its justification in the history of the dissemination of ‘The Art of Fugue’ in that Bach provided no indications for the instrumentation of this work. The ensemble selected here corresponds to that of Wagner’s ‘Siegfried Idyll’, so that an historical triad of Bach - Wagner - Webern connects the original with our present day.”

Osmo Tapio Räihälä has supplied the following comments about his new work “Mural”:
“My point of departure for the chamber orchestra work Mural was, as so often for me, visual arts. As a synesthetic, I ‘see’ music in shapes, colours and surfaces, and also ‘hear’ paintings and sculptures as music. Therefore, Mural is a ‘sound painting’ - and how else would you make murals, graffitis and suchlike, than by painting?
I wrote the work on the commission by the Gewandhaus, for the Leipzig Bachfest, and Sinfonietta Leipzig’s concert there in June 2017. The line-up is a woodwind quintet, a brass trio, a percussionist, a pianists and a string quintet. The title of the first movement of the work, Male Witch, is of course a pun, and refers to Kazimir Malevich’s suprematism, where the colours are bright and rhythms very sharp, and there are hardly any shadings at all.
The second movement, titled Charcoal, is the slow movement of the work, and now there’s much more ‘chiaroscuro’ in the music, which is more silent and much less aggressive. The third movement is again restless, and even here the title Schetcho is a pun, as it points towards a drawn or painted sketch, and a scherzo, and is a mix of both. The final movement is titled Hit and Run, which hints at making of an illegal wall-painting, a graffiti perhaps? Whereas my work Myriad (2015) for symphony orchestra and chorus is more like an all-inclusive fresco, Mural is indeed a painting on the wall, that passers-by can look at everyday.”

Ulrich Leyendecker on “Aprèslude noir”:
“’Aprèslude noir’ is the final scene of an unwritten opera of which a just few scenes exist in fragmentary form. The libretto is based on the novel ‘The Idiot’ by Dostoyevsky. The last vocal scene, adapted as a purely instrumental chamber orchestral piece, is set in the gloomy house of Rogoshin. Prince Myshkin (the idiot) has sought it because he suspects that Nastassia, their shared beloved one, is there. Following ever more urgent questions (‘Where is Nastassia?’) Rogoshin leads him to the corpse murdered by him, covered by an oilcloth. Both of them have succumbed to madness, and spend the night next to the deceased. ‘Don’t confess yet, now she belongs to us’, fantasises the Prince in a fever. Nastassia is characterised musically by tonal waltz fragments which gradually appear more frequently and in clearer profile; towards the end of the scene their correlation to each other seems more or less ‘faltered’ and then they are extinguished in the sound. The vocal parts are primarily played by the horn (Prince Myshkin) and the trombone (Rogoshin).”

15 June 2017
Gewandhaus, Mendelssohn-Saal, 8 PM
World premiere: Osmo Tapio Räihälä
“Mural” for ensemble
World premiere: Ulrich Leyendecker
“Aprèslude noir” for ensemble
Sinfonietta Leipzig
Moritz Gnann (direction)


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