About this Recording
8.223712 - KLEBE: Glockenturme / Wiegenlieder / Feuersturz / Sonata, Op. 4

Giselher Klebe (b

Giselher Klebe (b. 1925)


Glockentürme, Op. 102 (1990)

Wiegenlieder für Christinchen, Op. 13 (1952)

Feuersturz, Op. 91 (1983)

Sonata, Op. 4 (1949)

Neun Klavierstücke für Sonja, Op. 76 (1973-1977)

Vier Inventionen, Op. 26 (1956)

Nachklang, Op. 111 (1992/1993)


Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim in 1925 and from 1940 to 1943 studied violin and, with Kurt von Wolfurt, composition at the Berlin Konservatorium. After military service, during which he was a prisoner-of-war, he continued his study of composition which Josef Rufer and Boris Blacher at the International Music Institute in Berlin, while working in the music section of Radio Berlin, and in 1949 first attended the famous courses in new music at Darmstadt. His orchestral work Divertissement joyeux, Opus 5, was performed in 1950 under Wolfgang Fortner. The following year his Die Zwitschermachine, Opus 7, (The Twittering Machine), based on the famous painting by Paul Klee, was performed to considerable ac claim at Donaueschingen under the direction of Hans Rosbaud. Further performances of newer compositions followed at Darmstadt, at Donaueschingen and at international gatherings of contemporary composers. In 1957 he succeeded Wolfgang Fortner as lecturer in composition and music theory at the North West German Academy of Music in Detmold, where he was appointed professor five years later.


During a career that has brought wide international recognition and honours and awards in Germany and abroad, Giselher Klebe established himself as a composer of particular significance in the opera-house, with a series of dramatic works that begin with his version of Schiller's Die Räuber, followed by a further series of operas with a firm literary basis. These, however, represent only one facet of Klebe's work, which includes orchestral works, symphonies, vocal and choral compositions and a significant contribution to the chamber music repertoire. The present recording marks the seventieth birthday of one of Germany's leading composers.


Keith Anderson



Glockentürme, Opus 103, (Bell-Towers), for piano duet, was written in April and May 1990 in memory of Luigi Nono, who died on 5th May that year, and dedicated to Silke-Thora Matthies and Christian Köhn. I changed the original idea to a carillon under the deeply moving impression made on me by the news of the death of Luigi Nono. I had known him since 1949 and was a friend of his. The notion of the absolute in his art and life has always filled me with deep sympathy and admiration.


The form of Glockentürme moves in wave-like stages of greater intensity to a longer, resonant section. Intervals and rhythm are based on the harmonic structure that I have developed as a personal musical idiom over some thirty years within the idea of composition with twelve notes. The piece rings out with a melancholic cry in a passage which, like the other parts of the composition, can be grasped by the hearer without explanation.


Wiegenlieder für Christinchen, Opus 13, a set of nine pieces for solo piano, was written in 1952. Meeting and being with children belongs to the most beautiful and deeply moving moments of my life. Christine, my niece, was born some forty years ago. To the thoughts and feelings that the little child aroused in me I gave form in the nine piano pieces that I called Wiegenlieder (Cradle-songs). Gentle dynamics and the rocking movement of the constantly changing metre between the individual pieces and a common complete note-row give these pieces overall unity. They are grouped in bridge-form about the fifth (the first corresponds with the ninth, the second with the eighth, and so on), and should, to some extent, be heard as Songs Without Words.


I composed my Feuersturz, Opus 91, (Fire) in 1983, a single movement metamorphosis based on the picture of the same name by Sonja Klebe and on the associations with the corresponding sections of the Apocalypse. The strong agogic movement leads to a conclusion in resignation, evoked by the support in the German parliament on 22nd November 1983 for the stationing of American medium-range missiles in Germany. The composition was completed at this time.


The two-movement Sonata, Opus 4, for two pianos, was written in 1949 and dedicated with respect and gratitude to Boris Blacher. In the first movement there are thirds (either arpeggiated or as accent), chromatic scale passages and contrasting diatonic melodic material. Time proportions together, one after the other and coming together provide the formal structure. The second movement contrasts a fully melodic part with a strong boogie-woogie, in varied A -B -A form. The melody is determined by the major and harmonic minor, while the boogie-woogie is largely dodecaphonic.


Of the Neun Klavierstücke für Sonja, Opus 76, two pieces, Nos. 3 and 6, were composed for my daughter Sonja in 1973 and 1974. I increased the number of pieces to seven in 1977, making a cycle. This cycle represents in various formal and stylistic aspects my personal musical idiom.


Each of the Vier Inventionen, Opus 26, (Four Inventions), written in 1956 for solo piano, concentrates on a specific interval which is prominent but treated together with other musical elements. The first Invention is based on the fourth, the second on the third, the third on the tritone and the fourth on the notes B-A-C-H (in English notation B flat -A -C -B natural). The intention of the composition lies in reaching for a higher level of expressiveness by means of a strong structure within the short time-spans of the separate Inventions.


Nachklang, Opus 111, written in 1992 and 1993 for two pianos is a paraphrase of the poem Ein Aufhebens machen by Marie Luise Kastnitz. This work is in three parts all related to a central core. There is a bell-like sound heard in the first part, to be given stronger impetus in the second and leading to a quiet melody. This gives rise in the third part to diverse canonic forms. The composition, written for the seventieth birthday of my friend Walter Jens, ends with eleven strokes of the bell.



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