PHACE Wiener Konzerthaus, Wien / January 10, 2018 Hans Abrahamsen: “Schnee” (Austrian Premiere) _ “Es ist Schnee, es ist Schnee!” (“It is snow, it is snow!”) – The scenery in Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee is set
Wiener Konzerthaus, Wien / January 10, 2018
“Schnee” (Austrian Premiere)
“Es ist Schnee, es ist Schnee!” (“It is snow, it is snow!”) – The scenery in Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee is set by these introductory words. Schnee, Abrahamsen’s largest project yet and one of the most remarkable compositions of this century, grew out of his transcribing of Bach canons and is inspired by the inexhaustible variety and the formal rigour of snow. The result is a sequence of canons unfolding in five complementary pairs that mirror each other in their counterpoint and texture, the qualities of one canon reflected and crystallized in the other. The rarefied landscape, cool transparency and chiseled musical texture present an extraordinary sound portrait of the white, crystalline rainfall of almost tangible presence.
ABOUT HANS ABRAHAMSEN
In a creative life of almost half a century, Hans Abrahamsen has more than once had the courage to stop, and the equal courage to start again – freshly, out of a clear reconsideration of where he was before. His allegiances are shown by the roll of composers whose works he has, as a master orchestrator, reconceived: Bach and Ligeti, Nielsen and Schumann, Schoenberg and Debussy. But he has long discovered his own terrain – quite often a snowscape, as in his early masterpiece Winternacht or the work in which he found his fully mature style, Schnee (2006-8), generally acknowledged one of the rare classics of the twenty-first century.
Besides these two pieces for instrumental ensemble, his output includes four string quartets, a collection of ten piano studies (some of which he has recomposed in other forms), concertos for piano, for piano and violin, and for piano left hand, and a monodrama for soprano and orchestra, let me tell you. He is currently at work on his first opera, after Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
© Paul Griffiths
“In manipulating the listener’s sense of proximity to the sound, Abrahamsen creates a spacial interplay that is far more powerful live than on a recording.”
Drew Baker, drewbakermusic.com, 08/01/2013
“Schnee explores the idea that our perception of nearly identical patterns causes the imagination to project new forms by itself… The listener’s awareness fluctuates between following all the intricate processes and letting them go – and slipping into a pleasurable trance.”
Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 25/11/2010
“Schnee is intense, simple and captivating.”
Jakob Weigand Goetz, Seismograf, 26/07/2010
“Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee is a wonder. How to say how? It is a sequence of aural images of snow, in some cases onomatopoeic (the swish of brushing off a wooden deck, the soft ease-crunch of steps through a fresh snowfall) but more often poetic.”
Paul Griffiths, 22/07/2010