Aribert Reimann

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Aribert Reimann (2010)

Aribert Reimann (born March 4, 1936 in Berlin ) is a German pianist , composer and musicologist.


Aribert Reimann is the younger son of the church musician Wolfgang Reimann (1887–1971) and the contralto Irmgard Rühle (1894–1972). Reimann was already composing his first piano songs as a ten-year-old. After graduating from high school, he started working as a répétiteur at the Städtische Oper Berlin . He also began studying composition, counterpoint and piano (with Boris Blacher and Ernst Pepping among others ) at the Berlin University of Music . As early as 1958 Reimann went to study musicology at the University of Vienna . At the end of the fifties he also made his first appearances as a pianist and accompanist. At the beginning of the seventies Reimann became a member of the Akademie der Künste (Berlin) . From 1983 to 1998 he took on a professorship at the Berlin University of the Arts in the field of contemporary song . Reimann wrote chamber music , orchestral works, operas as well as a wide range of vocal music works from unaccompanied solo singing to choral symphonies and thus became one of the most important contemporary composers.

Cooperation between Aribert Reimann and Günter Grass for ballet marked the beginning of his career . The collaboration came about through the mediation of the dancer and choreographer Marcel Luipart . Reimann composed the story ballets Stoffreste (1959) and The Scarecrows (1970) based on a libretto by Grass . In 1966 he also set the poem March by Günter Grass to music for speaking voice and flute. First and foremost, Reimann excelled as a composer of important (literary) operas : With Ein Traumspiel nach August Strindberg , which premiered in 1965, Reimann's successful work as an opera composer began. Melusine (1971 Schwetzinger Festspiele ), Lear (1978 Bavarian State Opera ) based on William Shakespeare , The Ghost Sonata based on August Strindberg (1984 Berlin), Troades based on the play by Euripides in the version by Franz Werfel (1986 Munich), Das Schloss based on the novel by Franz Kafka (1992 Berlin), Bernarda Albas Haus based on Federico García Lorca (2000 Munich) and Medea based on the third part of the trilogy of the same name Das goldene Vlies by Franz Grillparzer (2010 Vienna) firmly consolidated Reimann's position as one of the leading German opera composers.

Reimann has received many awards, including a. with the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order of Merit of the State of Berlin. In 2011 he was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for his life's work.

At the invitation of Walter Fink , he was the seventh composer in the annual composer portrait of the Rheingau Music Festival in 1997 .

The work Cantus for clarinet and orchestra , dedicated to the contemporary clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann , premiered on January 13, 2006 in the large broadcasting hall of the WDR in Cologne. Reimann was inspired for this work by the compositions for clarinet by Claude Debussy . He lives and works in Berlin.

The Busoni Composition Prize

The Busoni Composition Prize was donated by Aribert Reimann in 1988. It is the only prize awarded by the Akademie der Künste to promote the next generation of composers. Composition students have also been supported since 1992.


Aribert Reimann with the order Pour le Mérite (2014)

Selected Works

  • Orchestral works
    • Symphony based on the opera " A Dream Game " (1964)
    • Rondes for string orchestra (1967)
    • Loqui (1969)
    • Concerto for piano and 19 players (1972)
    • Variations (1975)
    • Seven fragments for orchestra in memoriam Robert Schumann (1988)
    • Nine Pieces (1993)
    • Concerto for violin and orchestra (1995/96)
    • SPIRALAT HALOM , Dream Spirals (2002)
    • Nahe Ferne , moments from Ludwig van Beethoven's piano piece in B flat major (2002/03)
    • Time Islands (2004)
    • Cantus for clarinet and orchestra (2006)
  • Orchestral works with singing
    • A Dance of Death , Suite for baritone and chamber orchestra (1960)
    • Hölderlin Fragments for soprano and orchestra (1963)
    • Verrà la morte , cantata after Cesare Pavese for solos (soprano, tenor, baritone), two mixed choirs and orchestra (1966)
    • Narrowing for tenor and orchestra (1967)
    • Inane , monologue for soprano and orchestra (1968)
    • Fragments from the opera " Melusine " (1970)
    • Cycle based on texts from the book of poems Atemwende of Paul Celan for baritone and orchestra (1971)
    • Lines for soprano and chamber string orchestra (1973)
    • Cloudless Christmas Festival , Requiem for baritone, violoncello and orchestra (1974)
    • Six Poems by Sylvia Plath (1975)
    • Fragments from " Lear " for baritone and orchestra (1976/78)
    • Chacun sa chimère , Poème visuel by Charles Baudelaire for tenor and orchestra (1981)
    • Three songs based on poems by Edgar Allan Poe for soprano and orchestra (1980/82)
    • Requiem for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra (1982)
    • Finite Infinity based on poems by Emily Dickinson for soprano and orchestra (1994/95)
    • The Poles Are Inside Us for baritone and piano, based on a poem by Paul Celan (1995)
    • Kumi Ori for baritone and orchestra (1999)
    • Tarde for soprano and orchestra (2003)
  • Vocal music
    • March for speaker and bass flute (1966), premiere July 30, 1966 Biswil (CH), Alte Kirche (Günter Grass, speaker; Aurèle Nicolet , flute)
    • Disposed for baritone solo (1989)
    • Shine and Dark based on a poem by James Joyce , for baritone and piano (left hand) (1989)
    • Darkened for alto solo. Nine poems (1992)
    • Lady Lazarus for soprano solo (1992)
    • Nightpiece for soprano and piano (1992)
    • Five songs based on poems by Paul Celan for countertenor and piano (1994/2001)
    • … Ni una sombra , trio for soprano, clarinet in A and piano, based on a poem by Friedrich Rückert and words by Antonio Porchia (2006)
    • It was one look that tore me to ruin. Second monologue of Stella from the play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , for soprano and piano (2014)
  • Chamber music
    • Reflections for seven instruments (1966)
    • Trovers based on old French troubadour texts for speaking voice and ensemble (1967)
    • Unrevealed for baritone and string quartet (1981)
    • Poems of Maria Stuart by Robert Schumann , op.135 from 1852 for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble (1988)
    • ... or should it mean death? Eight songs and a fragment by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy based on poems by Heinrich Heine (1996) arranged for soprano and string quartet and combined with six interludes
    • Metamorphoses on a minuet by Franz Schubert (D 600) for ten instruments (1997)
    • Three poems by Sappho , in the German translation by Walter Jens (2000)
    • Fanfarrias para el público for 15 wind instruments (2004)
  • Piano solo
    • First Sonata (1958)
    • Spectra (1967)
    • Variations for piano (1979)
    • On the way (1989/93)

See also

Busoni Composition Prize

Individual evidence

  1. Anselm Weyer: The dance of Günter Grass. Scarecrows, moths, five cooks and a goose: the great man of letters had a weakness for ballet. Tanz - the European magazine for ballet, dance and performance (May 2010), p. 50ff.
  2. Interview with Reimann on material and sound in Süddeutsche Zeitung February 26, 2010, p. 12.
  3. cf. “Nobel Prize in Music” to Aribert Reimann ( memento from February 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) at, February 1, 2011
  4. ↑ Annual academic celebration and award of the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music to Aribert Reimann: Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz. Retrieved October 30, 2018 .
  5. Just wait, you are sure to end with horror. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , October 10, 2017, page 12
  6. The reason for publication was Robert Schumann's medical file, which Reimann had inherited from his mother's brother in the previous year, see Turbulent Thoughts. Away! , Concert on November 8, 2018 from the Philharmonie in Berlin, moderation Stefan Lang, in which Reimann's conversation with the moderator. The medical record is currently on loan from the Academy of Arts in Berlin.


  • Siglind Bruhn: Aribert Reimann's vocal music. Waldkirch, Edition Gorz 2016, ISBN 978-3-938095-21-8 ( publisher information )
  • Albert Gier: Back to Shakespeare! Claus H. Henneberg's Lear libretto for Aribert Reimann and its English translation by Desmond Clayton . In: Herbert Schneider / Rainer Schmusch (eds.): Libretto translation : Interculturality in European music theater (= musicological publications. Vol. 32). Olms, Hildesheim 2009, pp. 329-349.
  • Wolfgang Burde: Aribert Reimann. Schott, Mainz 2005.
  • Arkadi Junold: Methods of voice dubbing in Reimann's opera "Lear". Arkadien-Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-940863-02-7 .
  • Kii-Ming Lo : Invisible ruler over an obedient people. Aribert Reimann's opera “Das Schloß” based on Franz Kafka . In: Peter Csobádi, Gernot Gruber, Ulrich Müller et al. (Ed.): "Weep, weep, you poor people!" - The seduced and deceived people on the stage, "Congress report Salzburg 1994" . Müller-Speiser, Anif / Salzburg 1995, pp. 663-674.
  • Jürgen Maehder : Aribert Reimann's “Nachtstück” - studies of musical structure and language scoring . In: Aurora (“Yearbook of the Eichendorff Society”) 36/1976. Pp. 107-121.
  • Jürgen Maehder : Aribert Reimann's "Lear" - remarks on some structural problems of the literary opera, program booklet of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for the premiere. Bavarian State Opera, Munich 1978, pp. 61–73.
  • Jürgen Maehder : Comments on some structural problems in literary opera . In: Klaus Schultz (Ed.): Aribert Reimann's "Lear". Way of a new opera. dtv, Munich 1984, pp. 79-89.
  • Jürgen Maehder : Aribert Reimann and Paul Celan: The Setting of Hermetic Poetry in the Contemporary German Lied . In: Claus Reschke / Howard Pollack (eds.): German Literature and Music. An Aesthetic Fusion: 1890–1989 (= Houston German Studies. Vol. 8). Fink, Munich 1992, pp. 263-292 (English).
  • Jürgen Maehder : Studies on Aribert Reimann's musical theater. Musical dramaturgy in "Lear" and "The Ghost Sonata" . In: Jürgen Kühnel / Ulrich Müller / Oswald Panagl (eds.): Contemporary music theater. Text and composition, reception and canon formation. Müller-Speiser, Anif / Salzburg 2008, pp. 342–373.
  • Jürgen Maehder : Aribert Reimann et Paul Celan. La mise en musique de la poésie hermétique dans le lied allemand contemporain . In: Antoine Bonnet / Frédéric Marteau (eds.): Paul Celan, la poésie, la musique. “Avec une clé changeante”. Hermann, Paris 2015, pp. 351–372 (French).
  • Klaus Schultz (Ed.): Aribert Reimann's "Lear". Way of a new opera. dtv, Munich 1984.
  • Ulrich Tadday (ed.): Music concepts 139. Aribert Reimann. Edition text + kritik, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-88377-917-1 .
  • Anselm Weyer: Günter Grass and the music (= Cologne studies for literary studies. Vol. 16). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-55593-4 (also: Cologne, University, dissertation, 2005).
  • Sigrid Wiesmann (Hrsg.): Pros and cons of the literary opera (= Thurnauer Schriften zum Musiktheater. Vol. 6). Laaber, Laaber 1982.
  • Luigi Bellingardi: Alcune riflessioni sulla “Ghost Sonata ” by Aribert Reimann . In: Sabine Ehrmann-Herfort / Markus Engelhardt (ed.): "Vanitatis fuga, Aeternitatis amor". Wolfgang Witzenmann on his 65th birthday (= Analecta Musicologica. Vol. 36). Laaber, Laaber 2005, pp. 689-695 (Italian).

Web links

Commons : Aribert Reimann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files