Natures mortes

Year of composition
Scored for
for large orchestra
Georg Friedrich Haas
3 3 4 3 – 4 3 4 1 – perc(4), hp, acc, pno, sax(2), str(10 8 8 8 6)
Instrumentation details

1st flute (+picc)
2nd flute (+picc)
3rd flute (+picc
alto fl)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe (+c.a)
1st clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
2nd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
4th clarinet in Bb (
1st soprano saxophone in Bb (+bar.sax(Eb))
2nd soprano saxophone in Bb (+bar.sax(Eb))
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in Bb
2nd trumpet in Bb
3rd trumpet in Bb
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
4th trombone
contrabass tuba
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
4th percussion
violin I(10)
violin II(8)

Commissioned by

Ein Kompostitionsauftrag des Südwestrundfunks für die Donaueschinger Musiktage 2003.


World Premiere

Location: Baar-Sporthalle Donaueschingen / Germany
Date: 19.10.2003
Orchestra: SWR-SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling

Work introduction

Natures mortes was created in 2003 for the SWR Sinfonieorchester and for Sylvain Cambreling, in response to a commission of the Donaueschingen Festival; the piece lasts approximately 24 minutes.
The pieces is divided into three sections: a quasi-melodic, homophonic initial situation, in which the melodies each begin high and move continually into the depths, gives way to an opposite process featuring a 12-tone motif, which seems to spiral endlessly upward in overtone chords moving parallel to one another.

In the middle section, the orchestra pulses evenly in sixteenth notes, and the musical action dissolves into points on a grid; excerpts from overtone chords rub against tempered and percussive sounds.
The final section of the piece consists of long, sustained overtone chords. A phase of two overlapping overtone chords (producing clearly audible beats) is followed by phases in which each individual chord can unfold free of obstruction. This sequence of sounds gives rise to the illusion of a continuous ascent.

Common to all three sections is the treatment of conditions that repeat themselves in a spiral-like manner: the return of material is not intended as a reprise, but rather as the expression of an almost compulsive, practically unavoidable return to conditions thought to be long past.

© Georg Friedrich Haas

Ensembles that have played this work

SWR-SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
RSO Frankfurt
Tokyo SO