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Work of the Week – Han Lash: Forestallings

Starting point Beethoven with an ambiguous ending: The new orchestral work Forestallings by Han Lash will be premiered in Mainz on 14 April 2023 by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz under the direction of  Hermann Bäumer. 

This twenty-three minute work begins with a concert D played in unison gaining inspiration from the opening of  Beethoven's Second Symphony in D Major, Op. 26. Forestallings begins with a slow introduction which quickly departs from the onset of classical cadence and goes off into its own direction. Through various constellations of harmonies, Lash transitions to faster passages using the same melodic material as in the introduction which creates an ongoing dialogue as the piece continues.

Harmony and conflict: Forestallings von Han Lash

The various harmonic constellations refers to a conflict that runs throughout the entire piece. There is a constant uncertainty as to where the tonal centre lies. Lash aims for audiences to grow comfortable with this uncertainty as the work progresses and therefore are left with more questions than answers when the piece reaches its end and the various harmonic lines finally resolve. 

The slow music and the fast music form a sort of dialectic and a dialogue, and a sense of conflict is produced by the harmonic constellation whose hierarchies shift throughout the length of the piece.  (Han Lash)

The first movement of the work was premiered on 10 January 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana and the second movement on 29 July 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Next week, all four movements of Forestallings will finally be performed altogether for the first time by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz on 14 & 15 April 2023.



Han Lash: Composer Profile 

Forestallings: Work Details and Online Score 

Website Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz


Illustration: Caphira Lescante