»To Hartmut Krones on his 65th birthday«

Work in progress

For chamber choir, solo trombone, and chamber ensemble
Premiere of the first two movements: October 23, 2009, with the Ensemble Wiener Collage and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir conducted by René Staar and Erwin Ortner
Duration: ca. 8 minutes


Occasion for the composition: a musical contribution to a commemorative volume (Festschrift) for the musicologist Hartmut Krones, a contribution to be performed. So I worked simultaneously on the composition and on a text in which I depicted the evolution of the composition with flashbacks to other significant works.

The idea of the piece: finding Latin proverbs appropriate to the character of Krones (who is versed in classical philology), and, as contrast, giving the name Krones a text significance through phonetic variants.

In the first movement the vowels of the name serve as point of departure for the conception of the text. Consonants are then gradually added until the name appears in its entirety. As in all compositions of the homage cycle the decisive role in the harmony and in the melodic development is played by the musical letters of the name, in this case H (B natural) – A – E – Es (Eb).

These tendencies are already audible in the first movement, which dwells upon the individual intervals, presenting them in a vertical (chordal) manner. A major role is played here by the density of the chords, as well as by the distribution of the various voices and by the different animations of the four-part texture.

The second movement deals with teaching (»de docendo«), using various Latin proverbs. See the text below, with English translations.

The composer views the work in its current state, that of the realization of two movements of a future cantata, as a work in progress. This two-movement version was conceived expressly for a performance with chamber choir and instrumental ensemble and premiered in October 2009 by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Ensemble Wiener Collage under the co-direction of Erwin Ortner and René Staar, with Ian Bousfield as solo trombone.

The Latin text and its English translation:


2. DE DOCENDO (On teaching)

O saeculum, o litterae! Iuvat vivere! Iuvat vivere! (O century! O sciences! It’s a joy to be alive!)

Aetas nulla ad discendum sera. (One is never too old to learn.)

Docendo discimus. (We learn through teaching.)

Non scholae, sed vitae discimus. (We learn not for school, but for life.)

Nemo non didicesse mavult quam discere. (All prefer having learned over learning.)

Radices litteraram amarae, fructus autem dulces, fructus dulces. (The roots of wisdom are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.)

Exercitatio artem parat. (Practice makes the master.)

Usus magister est optimum. (Practice is the best teacher.)

Semper aliquid ad discendum est. (There is always something additional to be learned.)

Prudens interrogatio quasi dimidium sapientiae. (An intelligent question is half of wisdom.)

Magister est posterioris prior dies. (The previous day is the teacher for the next.)

Ab uno disce omnes. (From one, learn all.)

Exemplum ferte aliis quicumque docetis. (Give to each an example that instructs him.)