#65 – October 19, 2020
GEORG FRIEDRICH HAAS (1953)
for 8 trombones
Continuing with a series of chamber works for winds that might help you in your programming during this pandemic time, we would like to present Octet, by Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas, as our Composition of the Week.
The Octet was written for the 8 trombonists of the Trombone Unit Hannover a well-established ensemble in northern Germany.
Octet is dedicated to his wife Mollena Williams and has a duration of 20 minutes. Its premiere took place at the Basel Munster in Switzerland on September 11, 2015.
“My involvement with audiotapes played by Giacinto Scelsi entailed a surprising realization: that melodies – singable melodies in the traditional sense – are also possible in the smallest micro-intervallic steps. The comparatively rough transcriptions of Scelsi’s works, most of which are notated no more precisely than in quarter tones, made this quality of the music unrecognizable. (Unfortunately, the tapes are all but inaccessible to the public).
As with my “Ninth String Quartet” and my piece for solo trumpet “I Can’t Breathe”, I am also attempting to compose micro-melodies in my Octet for eight trombones, almost didactically approaching quarter tones and sixth tones up to eighth-tone steps, which must be intonated meticulously.
The piece is composed for a space with a long reverberation time. The musicians must stand closely together so they can hear themselves precisely. The work is not conceived as a polyphonic tissue; rather, it is a largely homophonic mass of sound, only occasionally splitting up”. Composer’s program notes.
Georg Friedrich Haas was born in Graz (Austria) in 1953 and studied composition with Gösta Neuwirth and Ivan Eröd at his hometown university. He continued with postgraduate studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna with Friedrich Cerha, who became his mentor and close friend.
Haas also participated in the Darmstädter Ferienkurse as well as in music curses at IRCAM in Paris.
Georg Friedrich Haas is known and respected internationally as a highly sensitive and imaginative researcher into the inner world of sound.
He has been a professor of composition at the Columbia University, NY, since 2013.
More information on Octet’s score and Georg Friedrich Haas