At his birthday concert almost three years ago, Wolfgang Rihm was asked to contribute to Karlsruhe’s birthday celebrations. The first performance of a capriccio for piano and orchestra he originally planned for the occasion was cancelled without comment.
Instead, only Über die Linie VIII was played, commissioned by the City of Karlsruhe. It was a recycled piece, according to the programme booklet: “An early version was written in 2013 as a homage to Benjamin Britten entitled A Tribute. Compared to its earlier English incarnation, Rihm’s mature piece is composed for a substantially larger orchestra.”
According to Rihm, who was present at the entire symphony concert and gave a short introduction, Über die Linie VIII stresses the linear: lines, lifelines and growth, or development from a germ cell. It ends with a colon; Rihm will continue the growth and development. The eighth work in the Über die Linie series proved to be suitable for a wide audience in concert; surging forwards, gripping, and rich in variety, it received lengthy applause.
“Dark is life, dark is death”: these words are repeated again and again in the first number of The Song of the Earth . When he was composing this work, Mahler could [...]