Could This Be the Grooviest Large Ensemble Piece of the Past Twenty Years?

The Brothers Balliett streams Thursdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 8 pm on Q2 Music

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wolfgang Rihm (Eric Martinitsch/Universal Edition)

What happens when a master composer spends over ten years on a piece of music, constantly reworking the motives, finding new and ever-more-fascinating transformations and contexts in which to work his ever-changing material?

One result is Wolfgang Rihm's mammoth work Jagden und Formen. The enigmatic title (meaning something like "Hunting and Forms") works on several levels - he indeed 'hunts for form' throughout the piece, finding his way masterfully from theme to theme in an engaging way that always feels inevitable from moment to moment. On a simpler level, the piece is filled with absolutely jamming sections of running triplet music that brings to mind the hunting music so loved by Romantic composers like Schumann and Mendelssohn.

From the opening violin solos through the extended English Horn and guitar duos to the blasting tutti sections, this piece simply rocks out from start to end. The Brothers Balliett are glad to share this giant piece with the Q2 world, including some examples to set the ears and brain in motion.

Perhaps the 'hunt' is over - Jagden and Formen may well take the prize for grooviest piece in recent memory.

Hosted by:

Brad Balliett and Doug Balliett

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