Friedrich Cerha: Skizzen

Friedrich Cerha Skizzen

Friedrich Cerha: Skizzen

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for orchestra
Friedrich Cerha
3 2 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st clarinet in A
2nd clarinet in A
3rd clarinet in A (+bass cl(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
bass tuba
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
violin I
violin II
double bass
Ein Kompositionsauftrag des Konzerthaus Berlin (Skizze I-VII) und des Tonkünstler-Orchesters Niederösterreich (Skizze VIII-XI).
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

The winter of 2011/2012 was an enormously productive time for me. I was often asked for organ pieces; I had never written one – but suddenly, in late November, organ sounds began to take shape within me and within a short time – without a commission or other impulse – I composed a number of preludes and inventions for organ. After they were composed, they followed me like an ineluctable obsession, swelling out of their formal seams, proliferating – and 11 sketches for orchestra grew out of notions from the organ pieces in December. The pieces are short, immediate and – I hope – without bombast or artifice; often sparingly set, they are limpid and easily grasped by listeners.

Regarding the characterisation: the first piece is slow and somewhat lugubrious in its energy. The second is turbulent, translating at its end to the regular crotchets (quarter notes) of the next piece, which is based on a stepwise descending fourth and its inversion. The descending fourth is a formula used countless times from the Renaissance to the late Baroque as the ground [i.e. the bass] for multitudinous variations. In this case it has an elegiac character with, perhaps, a touch of Klezmer. The final piece is dramatic, hotly excited.

The Skizzen [“Sketches”] reflect what I wanted from music at the time I wrote them. But since – thank God – people do not always remain the same, these sketches yet again mark what is for me today a “historical” position.

Friedrich Cerha

Translation Copyright © 2012 by Grant Chorley

Special prints


Friedrich Cerha: Skizzen

study score
for orchestra , 23’
Instr.: 3 2 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, str

World première

Konzerthaus, Berlin (DE)
Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Iván Fischer

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