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REIMANN: Zyklus / Kumi Ori / Die Pole sind in uns
(texts by Paul Celan)

Yaron Windmuller, baritone / Axel Bauni, piano/ Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gunther Herbig

Naxos 8.570199 TT: 50 mins

Aribert Riemann (b. 1936) is disgracefully little known in UK. In my review of the fine DGG recording of his opera Lear [463 480-2 - a few copies seem to be available from Amazon] I quoted Fischer-Dieskau's belief that "only Wozzeck portrays the loneliness of man, blind to his fellow man, equally convincingly".

Celan is a poet who has attracted many composers (e.g. Birtwistle's 'Pulse Shadows' alternating Nine Movements for String Quartet with his Nine Settings of Paul Celan). Zyclus (1971) was dedicated to Fischer-Dieskau, setting "richly associative, non-logical language which is resistant to translation" (Richard Whitehouse) - though Naxos does provide German/English parallel texts.

The "even more honed-down" Die Pole sind in uns for voice and piano is forceful and "more effective for its evident restraint". It begins with a poem sung in both Hebrew and German versions, and incorporates excerpts from several Psalms. It has the accompanist playing directly on the strings as well as on the keyboard, to plangent effect.

Some weakness in the higher register has the soloist not quite a Fischer-Dieskau in his prime, but this is a thoroughly worthy release, if ultimately an intense but austere experience. Die Pole sind in uns should certainly find a place in contemporary music events; perhaps for an enterprising duo of Park Lane Young Artists?

Peter Grahame Woolf