YATTSU by Johannes Maria Staud

YATTSU by Johannes Maria Staud

Next concerts …

/01th Arita
/02nd Hyogo
/04th Tokio
/07th Tokushima
/08th Nagoya
/10th Yokohama


Yattsu (八つ)
For octet (2020)
for clarinet in A, bassoon, horn, 2 violins,
Viola, cello and double bass

Composition commissioned by the Ludwig Chamber Players and the Alban Berg Ensemble with the support of the Alban Berg Foundation

Dedicated to the Ludwig Chamber Players and the Alban Berg-Ensemble

Duration: 12’00”

The title Yattsu, the Japanese word for “eight” is both a reference to the cast and to the location of the originally planned premiere – the Hyogo Arts Center in Nishinomiya/Japan – but unfortunately this fell due to the Covid-19 Pandemic victim…

Yes, Yattsu is undoubtedly a “Corona piece”. The anxiety between and during the countless lockdowns, the constant uncertainties, concert cancellations, project postponements, a phase of homeschooling, the retreat into private life, shaped the work on this work, which I did, probably also, because of the difficulties that this occupation brings with it in terms of balance , was not really easy to do. And that’s exactly why Yattsu has become a piece of pure “absolute” music, a living escapism that only writing music can make possible. The result was a largely wild, effervescent, pushing forward, but sometimes also tenderly introverted music with partly microtonal harmonies, which can be traced back to a few melodic and rhythmic cells that constantly influence each other.

There are probably few “classical” chamber music formations that have such a characteristic sound as the octet formation, which was influenced by Franz Schubert. The renunciation of high woodwind instruments such as flute and oboe, the slight dominance of the strings, the addition of the double bass, the warm, full, round overall color is an interesting hybrid between almost orchestral and pure chamber music.

Both in Schubert’s wonderful six-movement octet D 803 (1824) and in Yannis Xenakis’ explosive Anaktoria (1969), two milestones of this instrumentation, it becomes clear what this instrumentation is capable of: greatest lyricism alongside the greatest expressivity, intimacy alongside opulence to deliver; to combine solo extravagances with a finely chiseled tutti sound with great depth of field. With my Yattsu I have now tried to wrest an unconditionally personal color from this flagship octet.

Johannes Maria Staud, May 2021

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