Steingrimur Rohloff · Die 4 Himmelsrichtungen

The world premiere of Steingrimur Rohloff's latest piece 'Die 4 Himmelsrichtungen' should have been performed by Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen today but has been cancelled due to the governmental advisory related to COVID-19. None the less, the story behind the creation of the piece and the interesting event to which it was commissioned still remains.

Steingrimur Rohloff has created a new piece for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, titled Die 4 Himmelsrichtungen (2020) which was commissioned by the Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen to be performed alongside Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale and Beethoven's Trio for piano, clarinet, and cello op. 38

Credit: Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen

Rohloff's new piece is described as “a lyrical piece for the unique composition of instruments” by the quartet. “When we asked Steingrimur which composer he wanted to conjoin his piece with, he immediately answered Stravinsky. The Soldier's Tale, Stravinsky wrote in collaboration with the author C.F. Ramuz in 1918 –  at play for three actors, dancers, accompanied by seven musicians. The following year, Stravinsky rewrote the piece into a trio version”. This trio version of Suite from The Soldier's Tale (1918) was to be performed alongside Rohloff's Quartet Die 4 Himmelsrichtungen

Steingrimur Rohloff

The event was called The Cosmopolitans, inspired by the lifestyles of the three composers on the programme for the evening. The Icelandic-German composer Steingrimur Rohloff is currently living in Copenhagen but is educated in Paris and Köln. His work makes him travel worldwide, as they have been performed in more than 25 countries worldwide, and Steingrimur Rohloff has a regular collaboration with the world-famous Ensemble Modern and festivals like Klang, Wien Modern, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Klangspuren, Aldeburgh festival of music, Cresc - Frankfurt, Triennale Köln and more, so alongside the two other composers of the evening, he is a ranking cosmopolitan. 

Finally, the Messiaen Quartet marks Beethoven's 250th birthday, performing his Trio for piano, clarinet, and cello op. 38 (1803). The piece is based on a septet, Beethoven composed in 1800, which became so popular, that his publisher suggested for him to rewrite the piece into a string quartet (with flute), and Czerny created an edition for sextet. Finally, a couple of years later, Beethoven created a trio edition.