In this new composition, commissioned by the Ferruccio Busoni – Gustav Mahler Foundation and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Georg Friedrich Haas sets out to explore a microtonal space for 50 pianists on as many wall pianos and an equally large ensemble. The world premiere in Bolzano will be performed by pianists from numerous conservatories and universities, coordinated by the C. Monteverdi Conservatory Bolzano, together with the Mahler Academy Orchestra. The Busoni-Mahler Foundation is honoured to announce that the composer will attend the premier, following which the new work will be performed by acclaimed Klangforum Wien in various concert halls all over Europe.
The Concert Installation
Visionary, ambitious projects often start with an idea that could easily be dismissed as a dream: No less than 50 pianos of identical construction are set at the center of a microtonal composition, complemented by an equally large ensemble. To achieve the desired acoustic effect, each piano is tuned exactly 2 cents apart – which corresponds to the difference between the tempered fifth and the beatless fifth. Consequently, the distance between the piano with the highest pitch and the lowest is precisely 1 semitone minus 2 cents. Furthermore, the octaves must be “stretched” identically on all instruments; an effect that can only be achieved by using pianos that are completely identical in construction. The dynamic bandwidth of the composition ranges from massive, monolithic agglomerations of sound to delicate, subtle formations. The space of the large hall of the Bolzano Exhibition Center is being delineated by the 50 pianos, serving as fixed coordinates. In between, the ensemble move to various positions throughout the piece, with new constellations constantly emerging, while the audience gets to experience this concert installation from the inside.