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Universal Edition - Friedrich Cerha – Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven

Friedrich Cerha

Friedrich Cerha
Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven

Year of composition: 2010
Scored for: for orchestra
Composer: Friedrich Cerha
Instrumentation: 3 2 2 3 - 4 2 3 0 - timp, perc(3), str
Instrumentation details:
piccolo
1st flute
2nd flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st clarinet in A
2nd clarinet in A
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
2nd trumpet
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
timpani
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Commissioned by: Auftrag des Gewandhauses zu Leipzig
Duration: 14′
 
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Audio Excerpt

Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symph ...

World Première

Location: Gewandhaus Leipzig / Germany
Date: 06.10.2011
Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester
Conductor: Riccardo Chailly

Work Introduction

When I received an enquiry from the Gewandhaus Orchestra, asking whether I would be interested in a small commissioned piece to be performed before Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and preferably connected to it, my first response was a definite ‘no’. I did not want to write music about someone else’s music. Against my will, however, the opening movement of the symphony haunted me in the days following the request and I was unable to banish it from my mind. Ever since I first heard the piece as a child, it has held a particular fascination for me – with its mysterious fifths and descending fourths, the tremolo and the powerful resolution of the final cadence. The material began reshaping itself and blossoming rapidly in my mind.

The elements became more and more altered until their origins were no longer recognisable. Slowly, the structure of a piece emerged out of the nebulous ideas in my imagination – without me writing down a single note. At length, I accepted the commission. I then sat down and began writing out the first draft of the piece in a furious burst of energy.

The first version of my works is always the shortest. When I write out the fair copy, my pieces generally expand – because transitions are needed between passages and because my imagination continues to work away after the first draft, opening up new possibilities. Nevertheless, the whole piece lasts no more than 14 minutes.

Technically speaking, the harmony is derived from a chain of descending fourths: the first theme in Symphony No. 9. The orchestration is the same as Beethoven’s, except that the three percussionists play different instruments, of course.

I hope very much that the gap between my Paraphrase and Beethoven’s work will not be perceived as an irreconcilable divide between two foreign elements, but that the pieces can instead be experienced as two related elements.

Friedrich Cerha


Alan Gilbert on Friedrich Cerha’s Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9:

“There’s certain elements that you can easily identify, “that rhythm comes from this, this gesture is reminiscent or taken clearly from the Beethoven’s Ninth”. What I will say about this piece is that it’s highly atmospheric and it has some beautiful sounds and sets up kind of a wonderful stepping-stone from which you can enter the world of Beethoven 9. To me it sort of opens the world of possibility, it is not so determinate the way it is connected to the piece, as far as I can tell – which actually is a good thing, because it lets the Beethoven really stand on its own.”

View the full study score

study score - Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven

Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven
  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: study score

study score - Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven

Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven
  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: study score

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