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Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Noam Buchman, fl / Gregor Witt, ob / Karl-Heinz Steffens, cl / Michal Mossek, hn / Daniele Damiano,
Composer's Notes

Klangzeichen was written in 2002/03 as a commission from the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival and the Cologne Philharmonic. I wrote the work for the Vienna-Berlin Ensemble, having been inspired to do so by Elena Bashkirova, their pianist.

The piece comprises a single movement which lasts about 20 minutes. The calm introduction, in which the six instruments ‘enter’ one after another, is followed by the brisk tempo of the main section. This part is divided into multiple sub-sections, created by changing forms of expression, alterations in tempo, varying degrees of complexity and the use of different combinations of instruments. Its structure – as in all my works of the past 25 years – is based on three fundamental elements of my compositional technique: a ‘figure of sound’ and the principle of ‘permanent development’. The figure of sound consists of 24 notes and is divided into 4 segments; each segment in turn is made up of 6 notes from which derive the 4 basic chords of the piece.

The first six notes of the figure of sound were taken from an old Hebrew melody, recorded in the encyclopedia Das Musikwerk (vol. 44, Außereuropäische Folklore und Kunstmusik) as part of a liturgy for atonement. This melody, in its original form, is presented by the clarinet towards the end of the piece. It is meant as a sound symbol, or sound signal, of a wish shared by many people: namely, that the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples may at last reconcile themselves and find a peace long desired. The lonely, subdued melody of atonement leads into a dramatic finale, in which a multi-part song from the wind section unfolds over a rhythmic and dance-like bass line played by the piano. The zest and optimism of the music here point clearly to the future.

Klangzeichen is dedicated to the children of Israel and Palestine. (translation: Andreas Goebel)

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