10.Jan.2018 // 19:30
Wiener Konzerthaus, Berio-Saal
PHACE Series 17/18 – N°2


Nacho de Paz




Hans Abrahamsen
Schnee –
10 canons for 9 instruments, 2008 (Austrian premiere) D: 57‘

“Es ist Schnee, es ist Schnee!” (“It is snow, it is snow!”) – The scenery in Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee is set by these introductory words. Schnee, Abrahamsen’s largest project yet and one of the most remarkable compositions of this century, grew out of his transcribing of Bach canons and is inspired by the inexhaustible variety and the formal rigour of snow. The result is a sequence of canons unfolding in five complementary pairs that mirror each other in their counterpoint and texture, the qualities of one canon reflected and crystallized in the other. The rarefied landscape, cool transparency and chiseled musical texture present an extraordinary sound portrait of the white, crystalline rainfall of almost tangible presence.

About Hans Abrahamsen

In a creative life of almost half a century, Hans Abrahamsen has more than once had the courage to stop, and the equal courage to start again – freshly, out of a clear reconsideration of where he was before. His allegiances are shown by the roll of composers whose works he has, as a master orchestrator, reconceived: Bach and Ligeti, Nielsen and Schumann, Schoenberg and Debussy. But he has long discovered his own terrain – quite often a snowscape, as in his early masterpiece Winternacht or the work in which he found his fully mature style, Schnee (2006-8), generally acknowledged one of the rare classics of the twenty-first century.
Besides these two pieces for instrumental ensemble, his output includes four string quartets, a collection of ten piano studies (some of which he has recomposed in other forms), concertos for piano, for piano and violin, and for piano left hand, and a monodrama for soprano and orchestra, let me tell you. He is currently at work on his first opera, after Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
© Paul Griffiths

Press reviews
In manipulating the listener’s sense of proximity to the sound, Abrahamsen creates a spacial interplay that is far more powerful live than on a recording. Drew Baker, drewbakermusic.com, 08/01/2013

Schnee explores the idea that our perception of nearly identical patterns causes the imagination to project new forms by itself… The listener’s awareness fluctuates between following all the intricate processes and letting them go – and slipping into a pleasurable trance.   Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 25/11/2010

Schnee is intense, simple and captivating. Jakob Weigand Goetz, Seismograf, 26/07/2010

Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee is a wonder. How to say how? It is a sequence of aural images of snow, in some cases onomatopoeic (the swish of brushing off a wooden deck, the soft ease-crunch of steps through a fresh snowfall) but more often poetic. Paul Griffiths, 22/07/2010

Einzeltickets für SCHNEE

Pre-Sale for single tickets (2017) at the
Wiener Konzerthaus starts in December 2017

Ticket prices are available as from fall 2017!

Event Dates

January 2018
  • Date
  • 10.Jan.2018 19:30

    PHACE series @ KH | Schnee

    Wien, Konzerthaus

    Schneeflocken tanzen, wirbeln sanft umher, rieseln hernieder und breiten einen vergänglichen Mantel überirdischer Schönheit über alle irdischen Schrunden. Hans Abrahamsens knapp einstündiges Werk "Schnee" für Ensemble, einer der bisher bemerkenswertesten Kompositionen dieses Jahrhunderts, erstmals in Österreich zu hören. Lauschen Sie diesem Meisterwerk in ihrer bevorzugten Hörhaltung: im Sitzen, am Boden liegend, mit offenen oder geschlossenen Augen...

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