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An die Musik continues a line of occasional pieces, which started with Songs by Myself for the London Sinfonietta, followed by Songs of Autumn for soprano and string quartet. An die Musik is a setting for soprano and ten instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, double bass and vibraphone) of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, the Austrian poet renowned today as one of the great lyrical masters of the German language. The piece contains distant references to the An die Musik of Schubert (though this was a setting of a poem by Franz von Schober, one of the composer's closest friends) and also a very dim memory of a piece by Bruno Maderna heard in a Tuesday Invitation Concert on Radio 3 many years ago.