At the end of the 17th century Henry Purcell, the organist of the Chapel Royal, was given the task of writing a funeral piece for the recently deceased young Queen Mary II, a piece capable of doing justice both to the political ramifications of this event and to the feelings of the mourning nation.
Is it absurd if Sir Simon Rattle proclaims precisely this work to be a masterpiece of the 21st century, a work that pursues no other aim than to express in sound the vanity and ephemerality of existence? But there is more: Georg Friedrich Haas, with in vain, has created an extravagant, even excessive composition that adheres to no standards or norms. He leads us through day and night, through heights and depths, through extremely slow and maniacally fast soundscapes, but always inscribing a circle. Every earthly effort is doomed to failure, but what a failure it is! Experiences of lowliness and sublimity lie close together in this timeless hour.
The music unites the urge to overwhelm with extreme moments of motionlessness. As in the Baroque Era, but with modern-day resources, Georg Friedrich Haas has fashioned a piece that reminds us how tiny the human being is – and how beautiful music can be.