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for orchestra
Edition: Performance material

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Chiasma, the symbol in the form of the Greek letter X (= chi), is defined as either 'an anatomical intersection', for example the optic chiasma is the crossing of the optic nerves in the brain, or within a genetic context 'a cross-shaped configuration of paired chromatids'.

It is this crossing over and the resultant pairing of different components that reminds me of the method I have used over many years in my music, in which heterogeneous elements are juxtaposed and brought into a relationship that alters the individual components, in some cases bringing them together into a single unity.

This piece develops out of several very simple motifs, quickly evolves in disparate directions through the juxtaposition - 'confrontation' - of these motifs, and achieves a distinct dramatic 'double-peak climax' before collapsing into itself. These are precisely the primordial elements of composition (and above all of the symphony): confrontation, development and synthesis.

It’s possible that this work has also really become a compressed microsymphony. The special challenge I posed myself in its composition was to develop a piece within the period of 10 minutes containing the entire world, at least ONE whole world in its disparity, with its murderous amplitude, its tenderness and beauty, and its brutality and futility. Thomas Larcher - January 2018

Orchestral Cast

3(2.afl, 3.pic&afl).3(3.ca).3(2.Ebcl, 3.bcl).3(3.cbsn)-, 2xyl, vib, tub bells, kalimba, steel pans, water gong, sus cym, tri, b.d., s.d., 3bng, 2temple blks, spring coil, thundersheet, 4 sand blks, suspended paper)-acc.pno-str(

More Information

for orchestra
Performance material
Schott Music Ltd., London
Year of composition:
10 ′
World Premiere:
March 15, 2018 · Leipzig (D)
Gewandhaus, Großer Saal
Conductor: Andris Nelsons · Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Commissioned work :
Kompositionsauftrag des Gewandhausorchesters Leipzig, finanziert durch die Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

Technical Details

Product number:
LSL 10485


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  • Chiasma
    Conductor: Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
    May 24, 2019 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Barbican Hall — National Premiere
  • Chiasma
    Conductor: Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    May 6, 2018 | Madrid (Spain) , Auditorio Nacional de Música — National Premiere
  • Chiasma
    Conductor: Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    May 3, 2018 | Paris (France) , Philharmonie — National Premiere
  • Set Ascending Direction


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