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The Core Curriculum

Lear, by Aribert Reimann, 1982

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Lear, by Aribert Reimann, 1982.

Opera in 2 parts by Aribert Reimann, libretto by Claus H. Henneberg, premiered in Munich at the Nationaltheater on July 9, 1978.

This video clip is Part 2, Scene 7 (finale), from the 1982 performance by the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Gerd Albrecht conducting.

In this opera commissioned by the Bayerische Staatsoper, Reimann used serial techniques—the use of ordered rows or sets of pitches or intervals—to create the composition. The opera employs an enormous orchestra that includes a large percussion section and a string section in 48 parts. Quarter tones, chord clusters and chromaticism also mark the piece. Throughout the opera, the personalities of the characters are often portrayed through their respective vocal parts. For example, Goneril has a fierce and declamatory style, Regan uses expansive coloratura and Cordelia sings in a lyrical and poised style. Vocal patterns often use speech or parlando rhythms that reflect the influence of folk music.

Plot synopsis (via Oxford Music Online): https://www1.columbia.edu/pamacea/login.shtml?target=/sec-cgi-bin/cul/pr...

Audio CD of Lear, available in the Music and Arts Library (via CLIO): http://clio.cul.columbia.edu:7018/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=45656&recC...