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Wolfgang Rihm - Et Lux - Huelgas Ensemble, Minguet Quartett, Paul Van Nevel (2015) {ECM New Series 2404}
Wolfgang Rihm - Et Lux - Huelgas Ensemble, Minguet Quartett, Paul Van Nevel (2015) {ECM New Series 2404}
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© 2015 ECM Records | ECM New Series 2404
Classical / Contemporary Classical / Choral / Chamber Music / Strings

From a composer whose vast output plunders the stylistic gamut of western musical history and then some, here is a single movement requiem full of clean lines and troubled introspection. Et Lux is a 2009 composition for voices and string quartet in which Rihm dwells on certain phrases of the Latin death mass - particularly the notion of eternal light, which he calls "comforting yet deeply disturbing". The same could be said of Et Lux as a whole. Tropes waft in from across the ages: this music treads the line of tangibility, with sudden rushes of anger or fondness and the messy half-memories that come with grief. The strings complete phrases that the singers can't seem to summon. Conductor Paul van Nevel doubles the vocal parts to create broad, generous textures that sound lovely and lush against the strings' icy clarity - all qualities that ECM's engineers are expert at capturing.
Wolfgang Rihm - Et Lux - Huelgas Ensemble, Minguet Quartett, Paul Van Nevel (2015) {ECM New Series 2404}

The hour-long piece is dedicated to The Hilliard Ensemble and the Arditti Quartet who gave the world premiere in Cologne in November 2009 and its UK premiere later that month at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. This pairing of a vocal group and a string quartet specializing in early music and contemporary music respectively is replicated by the artists on this ECM disc - the Cologne-based Minguet Quartet and the Belgian early music group, the Huelgas Ensemble whose founder, Paul van Nevel, conducts the recording.

‘Et Lux' emerges as if from centuries ago, and reflects upon the musical processes that have shaped it, including the ritual of the requiem: "What we have is not music remembered but music remembering." It incorporates text fragments of the Latin Requiem Mass, which appear as components of a progressively realized whole. "Great significance is displayed by the reappearance of specific groups of words, for example ‘et lux perpetua luceat' (and let perpetual light shine upon them). Through circling reflection the comforting yet disturbing meaning of the words may become perceptible."

Reviewing the premiere performance the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung praised the work's interwoven musical and linguistic elements while the Daily Telegraph said of its UK premiere: "Beautifully paced and very moving". ‘Et Lux' was recorded in February 2014 in Antwerp. The CD booklet includes an introductory statement by Wolfgang Rihm, and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Wolfgang Schreiber.

Wolfgang Rihm - Et Lux - Huelgas Ensemble, Minguet Quartett, Paul Van Nevel (2015) {ECM New Series 2404}


Personnel:
Huelgas Ensemble
Minguet Quartett
Paul Van Nevel
, conductor

tracklist:
01 - Et Lux - Fur Vokalensemble Und Streichquartett
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Tags: Wolfgang, Huelgas, Ensemble, Minguet, Quartett, Series

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