Reimann, Aribert (b Berlin, 4 March 1936). German composer and pianist. He attended the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where his father was head of church music and his mother a teacher of singing, studying composition with Blacher, counterpoint with Pepping and the piano with Otto Rausch. In the late 1950s he began to establish a reputation as a distinguished Lieder accompanist, appearing with soloists such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ernst Haefliger, Elisabeth Grümmer and Barry McDaniel. He has also served as professor of composition at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. His honours include membership in the Academy of the Arts, Berlin (1971), the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (1976) and the Free Academy of the Arts, Hamburg (1965). He was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Verdienstorden, Federal German Republic (1985), the composition prize of the Prince Pierre Foundation, Monaco (1986) and the Frankfurt music prize (1991). In 1993 he was appointed to the German order Pour le Mérite.
Reimann’s stylistic language, influenced by the music of Webern, inclines towards complexity, strict organization and tight concentration. Seemingly flexible structures, first present in the song cycle Engführung (1967), also appear, created through the use of unmetred segments of material and figurative, ornamental formulations that produce the illusion of spontaneity. Drawn to the music dramas of Wagner and the theatrical works of Weill, Hindemith and Debussy from an early age, he developed his strongest affinity for Berg’s stage works. His first opera, Ein Traumspiel, was completed in 1965. Later in Lear (1978) he contrasted powerful orchestral eruptions, made up of tone clusters, and sonorities and gestures derived from jazz, with 12-note writing for string quartet or delicate instrumental dialogue. In both his vocal and instrumental writing, highly complex lyricism and virtuosity are combined with subtly differentiated tone colours. Nightpiece (1992) for soprano and piano juxtaposes tone clusters, plucked notes of a metallic timbre and figurative passages in high registers.
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