A.C. Forte-Piano

op. 6, 1991

For clarinet, bassoon, horn, string quintet
Duration: 12 min.

Commissioned by the Berlin Senate
World premiere: 1991, Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie. Ensemble attacca berlin, conductor: Konstantia Gourzi


Composer’s notes

When this piece was commissioned, I was given the special task and great challenge firstly to write for a Schubert Octet scoring, and also to create a work in Mozart’s honour. Early on, I examined the role of the fortepiano in Mozart’s symphonies, especially in the “Jupiter” symphony, which I was getting my teeth into as a conductor at that time. Should the fortepiano make “subito” dynamics, or should they be more gradual? I was also fascinated by how Mozart repeatedly uses andante cantabile in his symphonies.

This composition is therefore a homage to Mozart, and a musical engagement with both andante cantabile and the fortepiano in his music. The entire work is dramaturgically built on these two musical elements, and has three movements. They are very different from each other in their phrasing, their rhythmic concepts and also in their dynamics.

In the first movement, sudden, radical changes in dynamics and impulse (tutti) make for a powerful wave which does not come to rest. The second movement features more soloistic writing for some instruments, in order to present the idea of the composition in a sort of sonic monologue. These passages are repeatedly interrupted by the tutti sections, who hand the music to the next solo. It is as if the energy of the first movement is looking for some musical relaxation in the second. The dramaturgy and the instrumental character of the second movement also evoke a quality that is entirely its own. The third movement begins with new rhythmic colours, quite different from the first and second movement. It wants to break away from what came before and offer new possibilities in sound, but the memories of the first movement grow stronger and stronger. This is in order to portray the work’s central and main idea: the power of the dynamic shifts between forte and piano, within an andante-cantabile atmosphere.