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Symphony No. 4

By Poul Ruders

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Organ and Orchestra
Composed by Poul Ruders. Vocal Score. Composed 2013. 146 pages. Edition Wilhelm Hansen #WH31186. Published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen (BT.WH31186).

Item Number: BT.WH31186

ISBN 9788759820834.

Symphony No. 4 - an Organ Symphony (2008) by Poul Ruders.

Organ part & reduced score: WH31186C

Orch. parts are available on hire: hire@ewh.dk

Preface / Programme Note

When introducing a large-scale symphonic work not only as a symphony, but as an organ symphony, it would be impossible not to think of and perhaps compare it with Camille Saint-Saëns’s famous SYMPHONY NO. 3, popularly known as the Organ Symphony. Well, that is a risk I am prepared to take – and live with the consequences.
Saint-Saëns, however, listed his work as a symphony avec/with organ. Theorgan only appears in two out of the four sections of thepiece. In my symphony, the instrument plays a far more significant part and is featured in all four movements. But it is not a concerto for organ and orchestra, rather a symphony with organo obligato - a symphony with an organ part of a soloistic nature. So, an Organ Symphony it is.


The first movement, PRELUDE, is exactly that: a foreplay to what is in store for the rest of the symphony. It is slow (very slow!) and predominantly hushed: the organ and the orchestra wake up, side-by-side, getting to know one another.
The second movement, CORTÈGE, is a slowly moving processional and it evokes extreme solemnity and austerity. Later on, the music takes flight and the atmosphere lightens considerably, a far more playful music emerging.
This leads to the third movement, ETUDE, an exercise in instrumental virtuosity and technical challenge.
The fourth and last movement is called CHACONNE, but I could just as well have named it passacaglia (the definition of those two terms seems to blur, even among the learned). Bearing in mind the last movement of Johannes Brahms´s SYMPHONY NO.
4, which is universally agreed on as being a passacaglia, I chose to avoid the Wrath of the Gods and opted for.

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