Haas' 11.000 Saiten: world premiere with 50 pianos

Haas' 11.000 Saiten: world premiere with 50 pianos

"A circle of angels" (SZ)

In celebration of his 70th birthday, the Mahler Academy Orchestra with the support of Klangforum Wien, commissioned by the F. Busoni - G. Mahler Foundation and sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, realized a very special work by Georg Friedrich Haas:

In 11.000 Saiten, 50 pianos that have been microtonally tuned against one another play together with a chamber orchestra. Arranged in a circle around the audience, each piano is tuned two cents higher than the last, reaching a semitone higher at the end than the beginning as the circle closes. In his composition, Haas treats the 50 pianos’ 11,000 strings as a single instrument.

Even without this knowledge, the audience embraces "a very sensual, emphatic work for which one is quite immediately excited." (SZ) Thundering clouds of sound, liberating major tones, pounding rhythms and rapturous, spectral spheres are convincing all around.

Chinese piano manufacturer Hailun provided the pianos, and Ricordi, together with its digital partner Newzik, developed the material. The musicians play from tablets, and instead of a conductor automated page turns dictate the meter.

Further concerts are in the works, initially as part of the Wien Modern in November 2023.

View work details

World premiere of 11.000 Saiten

Score of 11.000 Saiten

Photos: Anna Cerrato