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Walter Zimmermann: The Echoing Green. Chamber Works 1986-89

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  • Wüstenwanderung (1986) for piano
  • Geduld und Gelegenheit (1987–1989) for cello and piano
  • Lied im Wüstenvogelton (1987) for bass-flute and piano
  • The Echoing Green (1989) for violin and piano


Like Morton Feldman, whose music he acknowledges as an influence, Zimmermann (born 1949) is fascinated by the relationship between painting and music, and how material of an apparently simple nature played by apparently "normal" instruments is capable of almost infinite subtlety.

Frankfurt’s HCD Ensemble are also members of Germany’s infamous Ensemble Modern. They are joined here by the superb violinist Peter Rundel and cellist Michael Bach.

Wüstenwanderung [Wandering in the desert] is almost unplayable because the superimposed layers – which have their own tempi and encompass the entire pitch range of the piano, producing a constant crossing of lines.

Geduld und Gelegenheit [Patience and opportunity]. The cycle deals with a Renaissance hieroglyph, the reading of which leads to the conceptual range of opportunity, time, virtue, happiness, patience.

Lied im Wüstenvogelton [Song in the Tone of a Desert Bird]. The bass flute sounds out the tones of a children’s song in infinite slowness. The pianist whistles the original in brief fragments. Otherwise the song only emerges in transformations, which eventually make room for a new song.

The Echoing Green. The children’s song “Ich bin das ganze Jahr vergnügt” [I am happy all year long] serves as a basis for a process of transformation and dissolution, whereby it never emerges in its original form anywhere in the piece.

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