For 11 solo-strings, wind and percussion

Year of composition 1960
Duration 17 minutes

Dedicated to Herbert von Karajan

World premiere

World premiere 20. january 1962

Berlin · Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester

Conductor Herbert von Karajan


The orchestral seating arrangements imme- diately point to the contrapuntal functions of the piece (“Antifone” is the plural of the Italian “Antifona”): A soloistic string ensemble (11 players) forms the core, surrounded by the woodwind, brass and fixed-pitch percussion instruments in groups of four which catch the thoughts of the string section, reply to them antiphonally and carry them further. The outer ring of the orchestra is formed by the remaining percussion instruments: right at the beginning, they create a rhythmical form which links and characterizes everything. Antiphonal contrasts are based on the diversity of the tone colours, on the conflicting performance of “loud” and “soft”, “quick” and “slow”, “legato” and “staccato”. Other common, linking features besides the rhythm already mentioned are the prevailing four-part texture which can also be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, and a pitch sequence which often turns into pure dodecaphony but just as often breaks out of it.

Hans Werner Henze


1 Ottavino

1 Flauto a becco tenore
1 Flauto traverso
1 Flauto contralto in sol
1 Sassofono soprano (o Clarinetto)
1 Sassofono contralto (o Clarinetto)
1 Sassofono tenore(o Clarinetto)
1 Sassofono baritono (o Clarinetto basso)
2 Trombe
2 Tromboni
4 Timpani
Percussione I4 Triangoli
2 Piatti sospesi
Campana tubolare
Percussione II 2 Tamtam
Tamburello basco
2 Tomtom
Campana tubolare
Percussione III

Piatto sospeso
Tamburello basco
2 Tomtom
Tamburo militare (con la corda)
Campana tubolare

Percussione IV Piatto sospeso
2 Tamtam
Campana tubolare
6 Violini soli
2 Viole sole
2 Violoncelli soli
1 Contrabbasso solo