Schärfe. Schatten for woodwind quintet and piano (2001-02, rev. 2008)

Instrumentation: Fl/Picc., Oboe, Clar./Eb-Clar., Bs, Hr, Pno

Duration: ca. 8′ (I. Tempo molto moderato ca. 5′, II. Zügig ca. 3′)

Commissioned by the Cultural Foundation of Hamburg for an ensemble formed by Nele Lamersdorf, Dina Heidinger, Johann-Peter Taferner, Anne Polster, Judith Hogan, and Simon Bode

Publisher: Schott Music

FP (1st movement): 19.5.2002, Erlangen
FP (Revised version): 5.5.2009, Leipzig (Woodwind quintet of the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ermis Theodorakis, piano)

Radio broadcast:
Mai 14, 2009, MDR Figaro (Woodwind quintet of the Radio Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, Ermis Theodorakis, piano)


Schärfe. Schatten deals with the ‘typical’ sound character of chamber music for wind instruments: on the one hand the possibilities of a colourful, virtuosic soundscape, into which the piano matches brillantly and as a structuring factor; on the other hand the range between sharp, thorough and airy, fading, ‚washy‘ sounds. The composition follows a strictly planned formal strategy: the two movements are variations of the same formal idea – once complex and elaborate, once stringent and lean. Both have in common that the movements are organized in sections each dominated by a distinct gesture or sound-colour (like “air sounds”, “virtuoso passages”, “melodic lines”). Each instrumental layer goes through all of these sound-colours, in the first movement mostly in individual order, in the second thoroughly parallel in all instruments, thus the latter sounding much more homogeneously. The aspect of “double form” also lays in many internal quotations and relationships between and inside the movements.
The short composition combines brillance and lightness with the ambition of a weighty piece of chamber music, which relates it in a way to Elliot Carter’s later works.