Symphony No. 7
Hans Werner Henze composed his Symphonie Nr. 7 - the only one named in the classical way - during the years 1983-84, when he had an apartment in Stuttgart. In long conversations with the French expert on Hölderlin, Pierre Bertaux, he made himself familiar with the personality and the works of Friedrich Hölderlin, and he did several trips to Tubingen to visit the different Hölderlin places there such as the Lutheran Convent (Evangelisches Stift), the tower on the river banks and the Hölderlin tomb. He got particularly moved by visiting the Autenrith hospital which nowadays contains the university's department of philosophy. It was here where the well-known surgeon and psychiatrist Johann Heinrich Ferdinand Autenrieth tried new therapies on the poet which we consider today as torture, and the third movement of the symphony in fact is reflecting this cure. Hölderlin finally was released with the diagnosis of an incurable mental disease and was housed in a room of carpenter Ernst Zimmer's tower next to the river Neckar. In this room he spent 36 years, the whole second "half of his life" (Hälfte des Lebens). That's why the fourth movement of Henzes symphony deals with the Hölderlin poem "Hälfte des Lebens".
The first movement of the symphony instead is a German dance an "Allemande", the second is just a song.