The Music of Earth

The centerpiece of "The Music of Earth" is Hans Abrahamsen's hour-long meditation on winter, Schnee ("snow"). Ensemble Dal Niente first performed the work for hundreds of eager listeners at the close of Chicago's 2014 winter. Additional repertoire options include Chou Wen-Chung's majestic Twilight Colors, an ode to New York's Hudson Valley and the composer's recollections of landscapes seen while growing up in China, and Gerard Grisey's Talea, which draws its material by the scientific properties of naturally occuring sounds.

Musicians Used:

10 (2 pianos needed)

Core Repertoire:

Hans Abrahamsen - Schnee (64')

Optional Repertoire:

Chou Wen-Chung - Twilight Colors (16')
Gerard Grisey - Talea (18')

Previous Presenters:

Chicago Cultural Center
Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago
Western Michigan University
Indiana University
Illinois State University

Related Media:

The video below features a preview of Hans Abrahamsen's Schnee.

Click "play" below to listen to an excerpt of Gerard Grisey's Talea:

A piece named for the German word for snow was appropriately timed for a city coming out of a challenging winter. Abrahamsen (born in 1952), whose music is well known in Europe but relatively new to the U.S., is one of the composers associated with a movement called the New Simplicity. Yet there is nothing simple about his hourlong “Schnee” (completed in 2008), 10 canons for nine musicians that grew out of arrangements of J.S. Bach canons he made several decades earlier. The composer’s “representation of snow and white polyphony” conjures a sound-world like no other I have experienced... hats off to the enterprising Dal Niente musicians and conductor Michael Lewanski for the amazing concentration and commitment they poured into Sunday’s performance – and for introducing Abrahamsen’s music to Chicago.
— Chicago Tribune