Georg Friedrich Haas (1953)
pour grand orchestre
- General information
Composition date :
- Duration : 17 mn
- Editor : Universal Edition, nº UE 33084
- Commission: Orchestre de Cleveland, Franz Welser-Möst.
- Dedication : à Yasuko
- Composition date : 2005
- Instrumental ensemble music [Triple wind orchestra (or larger)]
- 4 flutes (also 2 piccolos), 4 oboes (also 1 English horn), 4 clarinets (also 1 Eb clarinet, 1 bass clarinet), 4 bassoons (also 1 contrabassoon), 6 horns, 4 trumpets [en ut] , 3 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba, 4 percussionists, 2 timpani, 18 violins, 16 second violins, 11 violas, 11 cellos, 9 double basses
23 March 2006
Orchestre de Cleveland, direction : Franz Welse-Möst.
<p>The starting point for <em>Poème</em> for large orchestra is the relationship between line and musical space. An unaccompanied melody for solo clarinet begins with a quarter-tone step – on the one hand opening the work with a traditional <em>cantilena</em> gesture, on the other, with this microtonal interval simultaneously pointing towards new worlds to be exploited.</p><p>The resonances at the end of each melody are picked up by other orchestral instruments until eventually they fill the entire tonal spectrum. After that they begin to slide up towards the heights in the strings, at first slowly, then with ever increasing speed – while the winds clash against them with their constant, sustained pitches.</p><p>The harmonic system elaborated in my previous compositions (from around 1997 onwards) is further developed in <em>Poème</em>. In these works I adopted the concept, discovered by the Russian composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky, of <em>‘espaces non-octaviantes</em>’ (‘non-octave spaces’), in that I use chords which fill the entire audible (and playable) sound spectrum, and which are based on major sevenths piled up on one another. These major sevenths are then divided approximately in half, from which arises a sequence of piled up fourths and tritones. (There are other variants of this chord, which I have also used repeatedly.) The other sonority which plays a central role in my music of recent years is the overtone chord. Here I was influenced particularly by American composers: Harry Partch, James Tenney, La Monte Young. This chord has two characteristic properties. First, it deviates from the conventional tempered scale – from twelfth-tones and even smaller intervals up to the quarter-tone. (However these microtones do not sound ‘wrong’ here but, rather, soft and melting, since they can be derived directly from the acoustic principles of instrumental sound.) And, secondly, these intervals decrease continuously as one progresses up through the chord.</p><p>In <em>Poème</em> I have not used this overtone chord in its original form. Nevertheless I have adopted its principle of diminishing intervals and projected it onto the Wyschnegradsky chord, so that with increasing pitch the approximate halving of the major sevenths is replaced, successively, by division by three, four, six and – finally – eight.</p><p>As far as form is concerned, my music is composed as a journey from one state to the next: ‘form’ in the traditional sense does not interest me. What I wish to achieve is a sequence of ever-changing sections, composed to form a continuous process.</p><p>The <em>cantabile</em> lines are thickened, the instrumental groups paraphrase them in chorus. </p><p>The melodic lines ascend endlessly (in parallel fifths) into the heights and are counterpointed by an independent, endlessly falling melody (in parallel Wyschnegradsky chords). The process grinds to a halt and leads to a pulsating standstill.</p><p>Tender melodic turns with after-echoes appear at the end of the work.</p><p>There is no recapitulation, no developing variation, no dialectic process involving two contrasting forms: only a ‘Being There’ (<em>Da-Sein</em>) of different states of sound.</p><p><em>Poème</em> is dedicated to my wife Yasuko.</p><p><em>Georg Friedrich Haas.</em><br /></p>