Simon Steen-Andersen (1976)

Ouvertures (2008)

for guzheng solo, orchestra and electronics

electronic work

  • General information
    • Composition date: 2008
      Revision dates: 2010
    • Duration: 15 mn
    • Publisher: Edition·S
Detailed formation
  • soloist: guzheng
  • 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 percussionists, strings

Premiere information

  • Date: 11 May 2008

    Chine, Shangai


    Liu Le : guzheng, l'Orchestre Symphonique de Shangai.

  • Date: 4 May 2010

    Chine, Shangai


    Liu Le : guzheng, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France.

Information on the electronics
Electronic device: temps réel, échantillonneur - sampler (sampler-keyboard)

Program note

Ouvertures means beginnings or openings. The piece consists of many openings and beginnings - doors to different musical spaces, each time revealed or explored a bit further. In one room the Chinese “Song of Four Seasons” is put under a microscope so that one can hear details, which are normally not audible. By stretching the song to about 50 times slower than normal, one can enter a rich world of odd tones, microscopic vibrations and little glissandi not belonging to the actual melody, but being a natural part of the human voice and the Chinese tradition of singing. The gu-zheng is tuned in a special way in order to play along on this strange melody consisting of very small intervals. In this way the “Song of Four Seasons” indirectly colors the whole piece by dictating the limited number of tones on the gu-zheng, also used as foundation for the tones and harmonies used in the orchestra. The act of opening is also made into a theme in the opening of the little secret compartment of the gu-zheng used for tuning the instrument. On one side, the player must open the box to be able to play on the tuning pegs toward the end of the piece. On the other side, opening and closing the box seems to control the music and the orchestra – as if opening and closing doors to different musical worlds.