Drei Lieder nach Gedichten von Max Herrmann-Neiße

(SW 1046)

Of the three poems by the Silesian poet Max Herrmann-Neiße that Ridil chose for the present setting, the first, surtitled “Notturno”, is probably the best known; a love poem that refers to Herrmann-Neisse's difficult relationship with women and thus certainly has autobiographical traits. The two other poems in the selection are characterized by drastically formulated visions of loneliness, fear and death. The texts are freely recited by Ridil, mostly syllabic, but also melismatic in particularly prominent places.

For all the strictness of form, which can be seen, for example, in the recapitulation form with an attached coda in the first of the three songs, Ridil composes – as always – closely following the text, and he succeeds in the most excellent way, the partly melancholic, then again gloomy, but also to musically capture excited, agitated, atmospherically charged moods.

The composer achieves a kind of exaggeration of the sometimes harsh expressionist imagery in the texts, above all through numerous allusions, which also result from the polyphonic interlacing of vocal part and piano accompaniment, such as in the middle part of the first song, when in bar 43, in the vocal part, in the conspicuous alliteration “… Hände wie zwei Hunde …” a transposed but clearly visible and audible B-A-C-H motif appears.

But the main of Ridil’s mastery manifests itself also in this work above all in the fact that he never dismembers the dramaturgical overall arc of a composition, despite all the compositional thoroughness down to the smallest detail. On the contrary, one clearly senses how he, like a painter who from time to time steps back from the canvas to observe what he paints from a distance, repeatedly critically places the individual below the whole.

Martin Schmeck


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