on air now

On ice and forest

Hans Abrahamsen in the Zaterdagmatinee


May 14 2022

Abrahamsen’s works for ensemble Winternacht, Schnee and Wald can rightly be called a trilogy. They are about winter, forest, ice, nocturnal sleigh rides and romantic images. The composer himself calls Wald the twin sister of both Schnee and his earlier wind quintet Walden (composed in 1978). Walden takes its name from the book, published in 1854, by the American writer Henry David Thoreau, which describes his two-year stay in a cabin near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.



Wald places Thoreau’s back-to-nature philosophy in a German romantic framework. The title also alludes to Robert Schumann’s piano cycle Waldszenen. For both Schumann and Thoreau, Abrahamsen writes, the forest is ‘the magical romantic place which brings humans to spiritual understanding’. Reflecting the ethos of the nineteenth century, Wald, which is peppered throughout with performance indications in German, features an actual Nachtmusik and a hunting scene complete with galloping horses. The call of the hunting horn, as characterized by a rising fourth, is borrowed from Walden and must have been close to the horn player Abrahamsen’s heart. He once set out for the forest, horn in tow, to experience the magic at first hand.

Hans Abrahamsen



Brad Lubman conductor

Become a friend of Asko|Schönberg and support our performances. Read more

May. 14 2022