Josef Anton Riedl, German Musique Concrète Composer, Dies at Age 86

By Philip Trapp on Mar 29, 2016 02:32 PM EDT

Josef Anton Riedl, German composer of experimental electroacoustic and electronic music, died at 86 on Friday. Riedl, also a multimedia artist, was a pioneer in the musique concrète genre.

The avant-garde musician was a protege of Carl Orff and Edgard Varèse. Following in the footsteps of Orff, he was dedicated to music education for the young. Like Varèse, he aimed to create percussive soundscapes unquantifiable by traditional standards; "sound as living matter."

The composer was perhaps best known to German audiences for his contributions to the music of Heimat, a series of several films by director Edgar Reitz concerning life in Germany. Reidl composed the score for 1992's Heimat II: A Chronicle of a Generation.

Reidl was also a composer for several other German documentaries, short films and television programs in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

Reidl was educated at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich, and received instruction from conductor and violinist Hermann Scherchen.

He assisted in founding Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland, the German arm of Jeunesses Musicales International, a worldwide non-profit organization for youth music education.

Reidl began creating his leading-edge orchestrations in the '50s. For a time, he collaborated with musique concrète trailblazer Pierre Schaeffer and his Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

Until the late '60s, the composer worked at various music studios, including Northwest German Broadcasting and Siemens Studio for Electronic Music.

Reidl composed a multitude of forward-thinking compositions, a few which can be heard above. He released numerous albums in his life -- among them, Josef Anton Riedl (1972, WERGO), Klangfelder (Loft, 1986) and Vielleicht - Perhaps - Peut-Être (Neos, 2009).

The musician influenced various other artists with his work, including German sound poet Michael Lentz and Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.

Much of Reidl's earlier work is out of print, but recent albums like Vielleicht are available from most digital music retailers.

Reidl died in Murnau am Staffelsee in Upper Bavaria, Germany.

Listen to a few of the artist's works and let us know what you think in the comments section.

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TagsJosef Anton Riedl, Electronic Music, Experimental Music, Musique Concrète

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