Gadenstätter and the Orchestra

The diversity of orchestral sound has tempted Gadenstätter into composing music for large ensembles more than once. He finds the orchestra's big, expressive forte fascinating, yet at the same time hazardous for composers. That's because of the tendency of mass orchestral effects to sound conventional.

In his first major piece for orchestra, Music for Orchestral Ensembles, which was written in 1990/91 and revised in 1994, he calls for the orchestra to be divided up into five ensembles, each with its own instrumental set-up. He compares these groups to five different magnetic fields which have their own polarities.

The ensembles are meshed together like the images you see in a kaleidoscope. They play alone or combine to form a more complex musical organism. There are stand-alone statements and chaotic mass phenomena, when one ensemble's music is piled upon the next's. The piece is full of acoustic joy-rides, where the listener is carried up and down a roller-coaster of carefully worked effects. Certain elements are singled out, coagulate and, when played by all five groups, flow together in a brash tutti.

Heinz Rögl, translated by S. Ferguson