KLEBE: Poema drammatico / Widmungen / Zornige Lieder ohne Worte (Christian Kohn/ Genuin Musicproduction Detmold/ Peter Ruzicka/ Silke-Thora Matthies/ South West German Radio (Stuttgart)/ SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg) (Marco Polo: 8.2
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Giselher Klebe (b. 1925)
Music for Solo Piano, Piano Duo and Piano Duet
Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim in 1925 and in1940 entered the Berlin Conservatory with ascholarship, studying the violin, viola and musichistory, and composition with Kurt von Wolfurt. Heresumed his studies after the war as a pupil of JosefRufer at the newly founded Berlin International MusicInstitute, and, privately, with Boris Blacher. HisDivertimento, Op. 1/2, for piano, had its firstperformance in 1947, the year of his first meeting withthe composer Wolfgang Fortner, whom he succeededten years later as senior lecturer in composition andmusic theory at the Detmold North-West GermanMusic Academy. He became a professor at theAcademy in 1962. By this time he had establishedhimself as a composer, with works performed atDarmstadt and at Donaueschingen and notable successin 1950 with his orchestral Zwitschermaschine,described as a musical metamorphosis for full orchestraand inspired by Paul Klee's The Twittering Machine.
He won various awards and became one of the mostimportant contemporary composers of opera inGermany, with a series of works, first with his ownlibretti and then with texts by his wife Lore Klebe,generally based on existing literary works. Over theyears he has won great distinction, with further prizewinningcompositions and public honours. In 1981 hebecame director of the music section of the BerlinAcademy of Arts, of which he served as president from1986 until 1989.
Klebe's Po?¿ma drammatico, Op. 130, was writtenin 1999 as a homage to Verdi. It was first performed inDetmold the following year as part of the festivalcelebrating the composer's 75th birthday. In thisconcerto for two pianos and full orchestra the composerexpresses his love and admiration for the work ofVerdi, a guiding influence on his music since 1950. Thework includes quotations from Otello, SimoneBoccanegra, Macbeth and Il trovatore, couched in hisown musical language. He explains how the portrait ofVerdi looks at him, as he writes, inspiring the presentwork.
The first and second Soggetto cavato, Op. 122 andOp. 129, use a musical term from the Renaissance.
Coined by the theorist Zarlino it indicates a polyphonicsubject derived from the vowels of a name, then usingthe traditional Guidonian syllables, ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la.
Klebe combines notes derived from the names of thededicatees with those of his own name, beginning withgis (G sharp in German notation). The first of the twoworks, both for piano duet, is dedicated to Kurt Horres,in friendship and gratitude, and the second to Silke-Thora Matthies and Christian Kohn.
Widmungen (Dedications) consists of five solopiano pieces written to mark various occasions in thelives of the dedicatees. As with the Soggetti cavati, useis made of the letters of the various names as a motivicbasis. The first, Zehnmal F??nf (Ten Times Five) was forthe fiftieth birthday of the composer Johannes Driesslerin December 1970. Driessler was appointed director ofthe Detmold Academy in 1960 and became knownprincipally for his church music, the field to which hedevoted his teaching. He died in 1998. Soggetto f??rChristiane und Axel Eggers was written in 1975 tomark the marriage of the dedicatees, and the third piececelebrated the sixtieth birthday of Karl Schumann in1985. Ariette celebrated the fiftieth birthday of thecomposer Aribert Reimann in 1986 and also makes useof Klebe's first name. The final dedication marked the75th birthday of the painter and graphic artist HeinzTrokes.
Zornige Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 118, (Angry Songswithout Words), were written in June 1994. Thecomposer explains that for each of them there was areason, clarified in the respective titles. The fifth songKassiber (Secret Message) is a piano version of Klebe'ssetting of the poem of that name by Peter Hartling, theroot from which the other pieces spring.
Meine Enkelkinder und ich, Op. 140, (MyGrandchildren and I) is a series of seven easy pianopieces written over a period of 21 days in October 2002,in answer to a request from Christian Kohn for musicfor beginners. The pieces reflect the composer's threegrandchildren, Mira, Maya and Tim Christian.
Klebe wrote his Thema und 39 Variationen (Themeand 39 Variations) for the fortieth birthday of ChristianKohn. The work is continuous, united in an arch form.
Its undulating course flows into a passage of greatserenity, which ends the composition.Based on notes by the composer
English version by Keith Anderson