Universal Edition - Friedrich Cerha – Instants

Friedrich Cerha

Friedrich Cerha

Year of composition: 2006-2008
Scored for: for orchestra
Composer: Friedrich Cerha
Instrumentation: 3 2 3 3 - 4 3 4 0 - timp, perc(4), hp, cel, sop.sax(Bb), mand, vln.I(3), vln.II, vla, vc, cb
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute (+picc)
3rd flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st clarinet in A
2nd clarinet in A
bass clarinet in Bb
soprano saxophone in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
3rd trumpet in C
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
4th trombone
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
4th percussion
violin I (1st, 2nd desk)
violin I (3rd, 4th desk)
violin I (5th, 6th, 7th desk)
violin II
Commissioned by: Auftragwerk des WDR
Duration: 30′
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Audio Excerpt


World Première

Location: Philharmonie Köln / Germany
Date: 20.11.2009
Orchestra: WDR SO Köln
Conductor: Peter Rundel

Work Introduction

I wrote Instants between 2006 and 2007. At the time I was tired of hearing the “sweat” of the effort of composition in music and thus tried to avoid long-winded symphonic fluency as far as possible. Directness and spontaneity became ever more important to me, the intangible alignment of musical situations and gestures into consciousness, and the intuitive disalignment of figures into the imagery of the score.

The result was a series of miniature elements and surprising moments.

And one other thing was important to me: rigorous reductionism had produced a number of interesting works over the last century, but it had also all too often given an impression of poverty and monotony, and I became ever more aware that richness and multiplicity can also be a quality of art.

And a third point: for a long time I avoided repeating musical situations in my work. Now it became clear to me that this had not been the case for some of our greatest old masters, and that repetition can challenge one's creativity and fire the imagination. Thus Instants contain hints of sounds past, the variegated expansion of existing ideas, reminiscences gesturing towards earlier situations, allusions to moments already heard, and, thus, a tight web of relationships without the need for a formal schema.

Of course, the order of these moments is not left to chance. The logic of the steps from one to another was important to me, as was the overall dramaturgy of the piece.  In my work the first draft is always the shortest. Out of the need to keep to the logic of the exposition as tightly as possible, expansions, insertions and a variety of “growths”" are added to the piece.  The final result is twice as long as the first version, a length which in the case of the Instants I very much hope will not be too much for my audience.

Friedrich Cerha

full score - Instants

  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: full score

study score - Instants

  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: study score

study score - Instants

  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: study score

1 Ensemble that has played this work:

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