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Friedrich Cerha: 8 Sätze nach Hölderlin-Fragmenten

  • for string sextet
  • Duration: 23’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st violin
    2nd violin
    1st viola
    2nd viola
    1st violoncello
    2nd violoncello
  • Composer: Friedrich Cerha
  • Commission: Philharmonie Köln

Work introduction

In 1994 I repeatedly read the writings of Hölderlin and noted numerous verses which appeared to me to resemble melodies. I began to increasingly stylise these tunes, as I had no intention of singing these texts. When I received the commission for the string sextet, which at the time was very much in accord with my own ideas, I began to develop musical phrases from speech. However, this type of procedure proved itself too narrow, and the result seemed to me too short winded. So I referred back to the tunes developed from Hölderlin's verses, but I used them more freely and to a more stylised degree. An exception is the last movement, which in its monotonous musical competence is completely independent from the music of the text. 

At the end, I asked myself a question that was not easy to answer; whether it is of use, and whether it would make sense, to tell the listener and the performing musician about the texts which had been my starting point, particularly as this should not be considered in any way to be programme music. I decided to do it because, not only do I consider the texts to be a reference to the emotional basis of the individual movements, but because I also wanted to be honest about the source which I did not want to be hidden from the listener. 

Friedrich Cerha


World première

Philharmonie Köln, Köln (DE)
Arditti String Quartet
Main soloists:
Thomas Kakuska, Viola Valentin Erben, Violoncello

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