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2017/12/11

Work of the Week: Aribert Reimann – Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht

 

With its images of spring and renewal, Aribert Reimann’s new song cycle for voice and string quartet will keep the cold at bay this winter. Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht was written for soprano Moja Erdmann and the Kuss Quartett who will give the world premiere on 14 December at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.

Commissioned jointly by the Muziekgebouw and Musik 21 Niedersachsen, Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht is based on songs by the Romantic composer Theodor Kirchner setting six poems by Heinrich Heine. The images of sprouting and growing plants in spring are perfect for lyrical expressions of love, however two of the poems also touch on loneliness and the winter cold of a snowy landscape.

Aribert Reimann – Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht: a connection to the Romantics

Having never been published, Kirchner’s song cycle for voice and piano remains relatively unknown. Reimann intersperses his arrangements of the songs with seven instrumental interludes. This is not the first time Reimann has worked in this way: in his cycle “…oder soll es Tod bedeuten”, he intersperses songs by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy for voice and string quartet with his own six Intermezzi. There are also plans for the seven instrumental sections from Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht to be available as a stand-alone work entitled 7 Bagatelle.

While composing I always have a sound in mind, which I cannot express in words because there are no words for it. Of course I can describe the sound, but it is not the same. For me it is the most complicated and the most important to be able to grasp and organise this sound that I hear within me. – Aribert Reimann

Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht will be given its German premiere on 16 December in Hannover as part of the concert series Musik 21 at NDR, and further performances with Mojca Erdmann and the Kuss Quartett will take place on 18 December in Berlin and 13 May 2018 in Zurich.