De Leeuw may have started out as a composer, but that aspect receded into the background in the 1970s. He became more and more a performer of music of the major composers our own era. In 1974, he seemed to give up composing altogether: the title of his compact, stormy orchestral work Abschied, from that year, says what needs to be said on that front.
After four decades, Der nächtliche Wanderer was the first orchestral work by De Leeuw since Abschied. The stormy, compact nature of his first orchestral work gave way here to an enormous, dramatic structure, suffused with resonant memories. Der nächtliche Wanderer is named after the short poem of the same title by Friedrich Hölderlin. It crosses every boundary of pretention: over 50 minutes of music in a single movement, for large orchestra with another orchestra off-stage plus played and spoken fragments on tape. Der nächtliche Wanderer is an extreme work in every respect. Its structure and language are complex, but so is its orchestration: with musicians who play in the wings (in a fernorchester, à la Mahler) and with recordings that sound like shreds of recollection over the orchestra.
REINBERT DE LEEUW(1938-2020)
 Der nächtliche Wanderer 46:02
Conductor: Reinbert de Leeuw On tape:
Bart Lelivelt - accordeon [Wagner: Elegie]
Steven Scharf - actor [Hölderlin: Der nächtliche Wanderer]