Georg Friedrich Haas (1953)

« ... sodaß ich's hernach, gleichsam wie ein schönes Bild... im Geist übersehe » (1990 -1991)

for string orchestra

  • General information
    • Composition date: 1990 - 1991
    • Duration: 16 mn
    • Publisher: Universal Edition
    • Commission: Ernst Kovacic-Musicians
Detailed formation
  • 5 violins, 4 second violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, 1 double bass

Premiere information

  • Date: 25 April 1994

    Autriche, Vienne


    Ensemble Ernst Kovacic-Musicians direction : Ernst Kovacic.

Program note

The title is quoted from a letter attributed to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Josef Rufer in the collection Bekenntnisse und Erkenntnisse / Komponisten über ihr Werk (« Confessions and Realisations : Composers on their work »):

« …it keeps getting bigger, and it keeps spreading out further and more brightly, and the thing is almost completed in my head, so that I can survey it in my mind like a beautiful picture or a beautiful person, and I can hear it in my imagination not one note after the other, like it should come, but all at once. That is a feast! Everything, the finding and making of it, now happens solely in a beautiful, intense dream. But listening to it, everything at once, has got to be the best. »

Ever since I started to study composition, this passage has influenced my musical thinking. The fact that it has since been proven that this text was not written by Mozart at all cannot blot out the fascination I found in it. The possibility of overcoming the reality of musical time in favour of a sort of utopian « simultaneous hearing » ranks among the most important compositional experiences – in the process of creating a work, as well as in analysis.

In my composition for string orchestra, this experience becomes the core focus: individual elements of a composition by W.A. Mozart (the 2nd movement of the Sonata in Bb major for Violin and Piano, K. 454) are overlaid and interwoven, slowed down or sped up to an extreme degree and, finally, a longer passage is realised in five different temporal transformations at the same time. The intention is not to have the original musical material be recognisable, nor is the work grounded in any sort of analysis of Mozart's compositional techniques. Rather – as in several earlier works – I have taken the technique mentioned above as an opportunity to render gradually, by a method of controlled randomness, a relatively large number of distinct musical events as tonally (or, to be more precise, diatonically) explicable overall phenomena.

Georg Friedrich Haas