In a creative life of almost half a century, Hans Abrahamsen has more than once had the courage to stop, and the equal courage to start again – freshly, out of a clear reconsideration of where he was before
His allegiances are shown by the roll of composers whose works he has, as a master orchestrator, reconceived: Bach and Ligeti, Nielsen and Schumann, Schoenberg and Debussy. But he has long discovered his own terrain – quite often a snowscape, as in his early masterpiece Winternacht or the work in which he found his fully mature style, Schnee (2006-8), generally acknowledged one of the rare classics of the 21st century. Besides these two pieces for instrumental ensemble, his output includes four string quartets, a collection of 10 piano studies (some of which he has recomposed in other forms), concertos for piano, for piano and violin, and for piano left hand, and a monodrama for soprano and orchestra, let me tell you. He is currently at work on his first opera, after Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
© Paul Griffiths