Fett by Enno Poppe - WP with Susanna Mälkki

Fett by Enno Poppe - WP with Susanna Mälkki

On May 10, Enno Poppe’s new work for orchestra, Fett, had its world premiere in Finland with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Susanna Mälkki. A co-commission with musica viva and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the piece deals with a new form of creating microtonal chords and harmonies. The composer himself explains his novel approach in an interview leading up to the premiere:

Interview with Enno Poppe

Fett (2018-2019)

for orchestra - - (min)
World Premiere: Helsinki, 10.05.2019
Duration: 25’


10.05.2019 (WP)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Susanna Mälkki (cond.),
Musiikkitalo, Helsinki

05.07.2019 (NP)
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Susanna Mälkki (cond.),
musica viva, Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich

tba (NP)
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki (cond.), 
Los Angeles

Picture of Enno Poppe and Susanna Mälkki
Enno Poppe with Susanna Mälkki at the world premiere of Fett, 2019

With an evening program that also featured works by Sibelius and Szymanowski (the latter’s first violin concerto played by Christian Tetzlaff), Poppe went on stage at the beginning of the concert to introduce his work together with Susanna Mälkki stating aphoristically that “maybe, in the wrong things there is much more beauty than in the things which normally are considered to be right." At this year’s musica viva, Fett will have its German premiere on July 5 in Munich’s Herkulessaal with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, also conducted by Mälkki.

Watch the complete perfomance with an introduction by Enno Poppe and Susanna Mälkki

Press quote

The name of Poppe’s work Fett [“fat”] is both incomprehensible and inspiring, as is the case with many of his other titles—for example, Holz [“wood”], Filz [“felt”], Brot [“bread”] or Salz [“salt”]. Consisting only of microtonal chords, the work resembles the first historical instance of timbral music in Schönberg’s Farben, the third of his Five Pieces for Orchestra, in which the same chord adopts more and more tonal hues as it passes from instrument to instrument. Poppe’s ever-changing chords create an endless array of new colors, to the extent that they almost sound like percussion or electronics, even though neither of these instruments are actually present in the composition. Cautiously waiting and then erupting, the dramaturgy is Lutoslawski-like. Just as the heaving chord sequences threaten to become monotonous, faster textures and quasi-melodic lines emerge, slowly growing into a furiously abrupt end. 
Helsingin Sanomat, 11.05.2019  

Score of Fett

Photo: Giorgio Bertozzi