Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

ROLF URS RINGGER Works for Piano

Maurizio Baglini (Piano)


There is a tradition of composers writing small pieces not intended for concert performance. Maybe Beethoven's Bagatelles come into that category?

Frederic Rzewski, whose The Road collection has occupied us greatly since their first complete performance, regards his as "music for home consumption, unconstrained by concert convention, to be savoured at will, in the tradition of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words and Bach's '48', neither envisaged for concert performance".

Not long ago, we reviewed Valentin Silvestrov's gentle playing of 14 short piano pieces, which he had developed from improvisations, "music seemingly taking shape in the moment", musical miniatures, "a trial run or artistic laboratory", or "the heart of the creative process".

I described them as "very much an acquired taste, good for calm late night listening" and the same may be said for these by the Swiss composer Rolf Urs Ringger (b.1935), some of whose major works were reviewed in 2001.

For Ringger, however, many of his piano miniatures "represent my creative aims and aesthetic goals at their most concentrated - - remain as dear to me as my orchestral works, vocal music or ballets". So they deserve attention in that spirit, and are done proud by the Italian pianist here, who treats them seriously, belying the simplicity of the majority.

Silvestrov is the better known, more 'important' composer; I have listened to his pieces again - their gestures are repetitive, and rely exceedingly upon simple 'turns'. Ringer's pieces are the more interesting. I have enjoyed them; my wife found them trivial... You can't please everyone.

Peter Grahame Woolf