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Aribert Reimann, Masterful German Opera Composer, Is Dead at 88

Aribert Reimann, Masterful German Opera Composer, Is Dead at 88


“The encounter with Weill’s music, which I had by no means heard earlier than as a result of it was not allowed to be performed within the Third Reich, was completely overwhelming for me as a result of it opened up a tonal however fully new sound world,” he mentioned in a 2018 interview for his former secondary faculty’s annual publication.

At 10, he additionally started composing brief works for piano. Shortly after, he accompanied his mom’s vocal college students at live shows.

In 1955, after graduating highschool, he labored on the newly based opera studio of the Städtische Oper Berlin, now the Deutsche Oper, whereas taking composition and piano lessons on the metropolis’s music conservatory. He additionally briefly studied musicology on the University of Vienna.

One of his professors on the Berlin conservatory was the influential German composer Boris Blacher, who suggested Mr. Reimann to keep away from the avant-garde hubs of Darmstadt and Donaueschingen — incubators of contemporary music with reputations for being experimental however dogmatic — and as a substitute to forge his personal path. Doing so, he distinguished himself from older contemporaries, and all through his lengthy profession he remained radically particular person, even solitary, as an artist who by no means belonged to any musical motion or faculty.

Starting in his 20s, Mr. Reimann accompanied Mr. Fischer-Dieskau and the mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender in recitals and wrote music for them. Throughout his profession, he remained a sought-after and often recorded accompanist, and championed younger composers via the institution of the Busoni Composition Prize in 1988 and the Aribert Reimann Foundation, which was based in 2006.

In 1962, his live performance piece, “Fünf Gedichte von Paul Celan,” or “Five Poems by Paul Celan,” premiered on the Berliner Festwochen, an annual performing arts competition, with Mr. Fischer-Dieskau as soloist. Mr. Reimann had met Mr. Celan, a Jewish-Romanian poet who had survived the Holocaust, in Paris in 1957, and was among the many first to set his haunting German-language poems to music. Mr. Reimann returned to Mr. Celan’s poetry in 1971, a yr after the author died by suicide, for “Zyklus,” a setting of six poems in a single motion of about 20 minutes.

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