Premiered in 2000 and receiving its first, sold out UK performance from the London Sinfonietta in 2013, in vain was written in protest to the rise of the far-right Freedom Party in the 1999 Austrian elections and hints at a heightened sensory world where dark, unnatural forces are at work.
As familiar harmonies meet microtonal systems, Georg Friedrich Haas evokes an otherworldly realm that oscillates between the past and the present, between clarity and dystopia. With twenty minutes of the piece performed in complete darkness, in vain transforms the concert hall into a mysterious new landscape, where you must trust your ears and relinquish your sight.
The orchestra maintained an astonishing intensity of communication. An enthralling performance " The Guardian
Orchestration: 1/picc+1/picc/bass.1.1+1/bass.1.1.sax 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206.1 2 percussion 1harp 1piano 1accordion = 24 players + conductor (with lighting design)
Technical Notes: c.20mins of the piece to be performed in complete blackout. 28 lit orchestral stands (must be dimmable incandescent tungsten bulbs) + 1 lit conductor stand (must be dimmable incandescent tungsten bulbs) + anglepoise for the piano (again dimmable). These are to be linked to the lighting desk, on at least two different circuits. 5kW Fresnel and dimmer (or equivalent) should be rigged centre stage as a signal light to cue the orchestra during blackout passages.
Publisher: Universal Edition
Commission: Kompositionsauftrag des Westdeutschen Rundfunks
World Premiere: 29.10.2000 Funkhaus Wallrafplatz, Köln (DE) by Klangforum Wien with Sylvain Cambreling
UK Premiere: London Sinfonietta, November 2013, hcmf