The role of the artist
RODERIC DUNNETT visits Caen for a performance of
Wolfgang Rihm's opera 'Jakob Lenz'
With six operas, (perhaps surprisingly) three symphonies -- all composed
before he was 24 -- and a host of orchestral (Gesungene Zeit - for
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Deus Passus - St Luke Passion), chamber
(nearly ten string quartets) and stage works (Die Eroberung von Mexico,
Oedipus) to his credit, plus settings of Novalis, Hölderlin,
Nietzsche and Celan, Wolfgang Rihm (born 1952) has been at the cutting edge
of Austro-German music since his early twenties.
Opera de Caen's bold decision to stage his early chamber opera Jakob
Lenz, one of the works with which the Karlsruhe-born composer made his
name as a pioneer of the avant-garde both in, and beyond, Darmstadt
(where Rihm, who acknowledges Webern, Stockhausen, Luigi Nono and Morton
Feldman among his major influences, studied in the 1970s and has since been
a regular lecturer), paid off handsomely, as was evidenced by the vociferous
and spontaneous applause with which it was greeted.
Copyright © 10 March 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK
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