Astonishingly intense and often fragmentary, the poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin has inspired countless composers including Ligeti, Britten, Kurtág and Nono. With his der Hülse von Schnee..., a Hölderlin cycle for mixed choir, Torsten Rasch has invented a language of winding chromaticisms and saturated harmonies that mirrors and intensifies the complexity of these extraordinary texts. A huge variety of vocal expression is contained within the work’s eight movements, from lyrical arioso and unsettling half-sprechgesang outbursts to exhilarating agitato passages where complex chords are thrown violently about the ensemble with abandon. The ghost of tonality is a constant presence throughout and the eventual emergence of a blazing major chord at the climax of the last movement is both striking and audacious. 
The fifteen-minute long work will be premiered on 16 October at the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie by the RIAS Chamber Choir under Hans-Christoph Rademann.