Georg Friedrich Haas (1953)

Natures mortes (2003)

for large orchestra

  • General information
    • Composition date: 2003
    • Duration: 24 mn
    • Publisher: Universal Edition, nº UE 32619
    • Commission: SWR pour le festival de Donaueschingen Musiktage 2003
Detailed formation
  • 3 flutes (also 3 piccolos, 1 alto flute), 3 oboes (also 1 English horn), 4 clarinets (also 2 bass clarinets, 1 Eb clarinet, 1 contrabass clarinet), 2 soprano saxophones (also 2 baritone saxophones), 3 bassoons (also 1 contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 contrabass tuba, 4 percussionists, 1 harp, 1 accordion, 10 violins, 8 second violins, 8 violas, 8 cellos, 6 double basses

Premiere information

  • Date: 19 October 2003

    Allemagne, Donaueschingen


    orchestre symphonique de la SWR de Baden-Baden/Fribourg direction : Sylvain Cambreling.

Program note

    <p><em>Natures mortes</em> was created in 2003 for the SWR Sinfonieorchester and for Sylvain Cambreling, in response to a commission of the Donaueschingen Festival; the piece lasts approximately 24 minutes.</p><p>The pieces is divided into three sections: a quasi-melodic, homophonic initial situation, in which the melodies each begin high and move continually into the depths, gives way to an opposite process featuring a 12-tone motif, which seems to spiral endlessly upward in overtone chords moving parallel to one another.</p><p>In the middle section, the orchestra pulses evenly in sixteenth notes, and the musical action dissolves into points on a grid; excerpts from overtone chords rub against tempered and percussive sounds.</p><p>The final section of the piece consists of long, sustained overtone chords. A phase of two overlapping overtone chords (producing clearly audible beats) is followed by phases in which each individual chord can unfold free of obstruction. This sequence of sounds gives rise to the illusion of a continuous ascent.</p><p>Common to all three sections is the treatment of conditions that repeat themselves in a spiral-like manner: the return of material is not intended as a reprise, but rather as the expression of an almost compulsive, practically unavoidable return to conditions thought to be long past.</p><p><em>Georg Friedrich Haas</em>.<br /></p>