Lapland Chamber Orchestra, John Storgårds – Abrahamsen: Schnee (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 54:15 minutes | 1,58 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Dacapo
Hans Abrahamsen’s feelings for snow are reflected in the titles of his works, for example in Winternacht, in the opera The Snow Queen and more straightforwardly in Schnee. In his music, the snow has many different states, and the colours are graduated with finely felt accuracy: snow white, cool blue white, blinding white, crystal clear.
Schnee (2008) has acquired nearly cult status and is a unique piece of music. It is, perhaps, Abrahamsen’s most radical piece since the works he wrote in a minimalist style in the early 70s, influenced, amongst other things, by a meeting with Terry Riley. Schnee emerged from the pause in composition in the 1990s, which Hans Abrahamsen now simply calls a “fermata” and does not see as an actual interruption of his musical work. During that interlude he occupied himself with arrangements of other composers’ music, and it was the study of Bach’s short, intriguing canons, BWV 1072-1078, which set him on the path which later led to Schnee. “I was completely absorbed by this music, and arranged the canons with the idea that they might be repeated again and again”, he has explained. “For me, this way of hearing music opened an entirely new and inspiring world of time set in motion. Depending on how one hear these canons, the music stands still, moving forwards or backwards”.
Bach’s musical mirror chamber gave Abrahamsen the idea to write music based on canonic and other imitative techniques. When Harry Vogt from Westdeutscher Rundfunk and the German group, ensemble recherche, commissioned Abrahamsen to write a work for the festival Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik in 2006, the moment had arrived. The piece became the opening movements of Schnee, though it was first performed with the titles “Canon 1a” and “Canon 1b”.
After the first performance of Canons 1a and 1b, Hans Abrahamsen went further with this train of thought, and by 2008 Schnee was completed as a substantial work formed of five pairs of canons, or as suggested by its subtitle, “10 Canons for 9 Instruments”. Typically, Abrahamsen decided the proportions in advance according to a numerical system: the duration of each of the five pairs became gradually shorter. The first pair lasts twice nine minutes, the second twice seven minutes, then twice five minutes and twice three minutes until, finally the last pair are twice one minute.
Another basic structure is evident in the division of the musicians, who sit in two groups on either side of a percussionist. Placed on the left, group 1 has the strings, violin, viola, cello and piano; and group 2 to the right with the woodwind, flute, clarinet, oboe and a second piano. – Jens Cornelius
1-1. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 1a (08:29)
1-2. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 1b (08:40)
1-3. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 2a (07:30)
1-4. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Intermezzo 1 (01:13)
1-5. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 2b (07:41)
1-6. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 3a (05:07)
1-7. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 3b (05:12)
1-8. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Intermezzo 2 (01:08)
1-9. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 4a (02:38)
1-10. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 4b (02:52)
1-11. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Intermezzo 3 (00:30)
1-12. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 5b (01:19)
1-13. Lapland Chamber Orchestra – Canon 5a (01:50)