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By Ospald’s own account, his discovery of the poetry of Leopardi was both "radical and existential". "In Leopardi," Ospald says, he found "for the first time wonderfully powerful songs that also evoke despair at the aloof beauty of nature that sweeps everything away before it". "Strong, breathless songs in simple images: of loss and speechless recognition."

It is not by coincidence that what was probably Leopardi’s most important canto, "La ginestra o il fiore del deserto"("Broom or the Flower of the Desert"), provided the title for Ospald's entire group of works.

Collected on the present CD, the three works mined from this œuvre massif offer prime examples of Ospald’s art of transformation and sound modulation that characterizes the entire Leopardi Cycle. His music is neither narrative nor dramatic nor rhetorically appellative. Instead, it expects the listener to listen to the incessant transformations of the sounds and discern its actual formal laws. Notable in all three works is a preference for low tonal regions, especially of the brass and woodwinds, augmented by deep percussion.

Deliberate quarter-tone deviations of the instrumentalists and vocalists help to create states of suspense and precarious tonal balances. With a finely tuned ear, Ospald uses the world of enharmonics with its oscillations, beats and irritations that can blur the sounds or make them dazzlingly unreal.

Through various intonations of the instruments and instrumental groups, an interval such as the octave, with which the orchestral work "Sovente in queste rive ..." rises, is progressively stretched, blurred and coarsened.

"Sopra un basso rilievo antico sepolcrale" laments a girl bidding farewell to her parents and friends. The verses are musically deconstructed and alienated, to be recomposed in the listener’s auditory perception.

With the help of the live electronics, microscopic changes in pitch cause the interval of a third to implode: "An unknown interval comes apart and displays a new quality: the unknown potential of a known phenomenon." (Klaus Ospald)

a production of Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln


Così, dell'uomo ignara ... for chamber ensemble and live electronics (2007/08)
Sovente in queste rive ... for large orchestra (2009/10)
Sopra un basso rilievo antico sepolcrale ... for mixed choir, bass tuba, four percussionists and live electronics (2008/09)


Collegium Novum Zürich / WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln / WDR Rundfunkchor Köln / Schlagquartett Köln: percussion / Hans Nickel: bass tuba / conductors: Peter Hirsch, Rupert Huber

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Leopardi Cycle
73 ′15 ′′

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Product number:
WER 67672
0,12 kg


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