Wolfgang Rihm

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Wolfgang Rihm: organ works. (Included: Bann, Nachtschwärmerei, Contemplatio, Fantasie, 3 Fantasien, Sinfonie I – Mass for Organ, Siebengestalt). Wergo 67512.
Dominik Susteck, organ.

Right in time for Wolfgang Rihm’s 60th birthday, WERGO releases a CD with organ works by the composer. In Rihm’s works, the organ holds a special position as his instrument of choice for early adventures in compositional self-discovery.

“Drei Fantasien” and “Contemplatio” are surprisingly spare. In them, the melodic element predominates. “Fantasie für Orgel” is, according to Rihm in retrospect, “a multi-faceted organ piece with a frenetic ending”. The piece does in fact contain passages that anticipate those violent “outbursts” in his later orchestral works. “Sinfoniae I – Messe für Orgel” [Sinfonias I – Mass for Organ] continues the tradition of the French organ mass and organ symphony. Nonetheless, the six “movements” of this piece form, through their common material and textural structure, a tightly integrated whole. In the composition “Siebengestalt”, both “intuitive and emotional” and “synthetic and constructive” elements are interwoven. For “Bann. Nachtschwärmerei”, Rihm returns to the world of his earlier organ pieces from an ironic distance.

The young organist Dominik Susteck performed these works on the organ of St. Peter’s Art Station in Cologne for this recording. The disposition of this instrument – the uniquely large number of overtone registers as well as specially construed registers for new music should be mentioned here among others – is unique in the world. The special possibilities of St. Peter’s organ make Rihm’s works for organ appear in an entirely new light.

“A wonderful surprise! […] The performance of Dominik Susteck is brilliant!“ (Wolfgang Rihm)