Orchestral and ensemble works 1969 1994

Symphony No. 6 (Sinfonia N. 6)

For two orchestras

Year of composition 1969
New version 1994
40 minutes

I Allegro con moto
II Lento
III Allegro vivace

World premieres

World premiere 26. November 1969

La Habana (Cuba) · Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
Conductor Hans Werner Henze


World premiere of the new version 8. December 1994

Munich · Münchner Philharmoniker
Conductor Ingo Metzmacher


Symphony No. 6 was created in the late 1960s, and was first performed in Havana on 26 November 1969 by the Cuban National Orchestra under my direction. This symphony reflects not only the excited atmosphere of awakening during those years but also my efforts to include in the composition the large number of new human and artistic stimuli that I experienced at that time. So the banjo starts to play a Vietnamese song of freedom (“Stars in the Night”), later the first bars of Mikis Theodorakis hymn of freedom is heard. The second movement is based on the poem “Fe de erratas” (errata sheet) by Miguel Barnet. In the original version, the three parts of the symphony merge without interruption. In the revised version, I separated them to make it easier for the audience to register the caesuras which are also internal caesuras as regards content.
Apart from strengthening the string sound, the most significant alternation in comparison to the first version is that I fully composed all of the “aleatoric” passages and pitches which originally were to be freely improvised as was the fashion at that time. Thus I wanted to free them from the realm of chance and indeterminacy and to bring them back into my artistic control.

Hans Werner Henze



Orchestra I

2 Flauti

2° anche Ottavino
1 Corno inglese
1 Clarinetto basso
2 Fagotti2° anche Controfagotto
2 Corni
3 Tromboni
Percussione I 3 Bongos
Percussione III Tamtam
Tamburo piccolo
3 Campane da gregge
Chitarraanche Banjo o Charango con microfono a contatto ad lib.
12 Violini
6 Viole
6 Violoncelli
4 Contrabbassi


Orchestra II

1 Flauto contralto
2 Oboi
2 Clarinetti2° anche Clarinetto piccolo
1 Sassofono tenore
2 Corni
3 Trombe3° anche Tromba in sib alto
Percussione IIMaracas
Bambù sospeso
Catene su ferro
Catene su timpano
Percussione IV 3 Piatti sospesi
9 Tomtom
Organo elettrico
1 Violinocon microfono a contatto
12 Violini1° con microfono a contatto
6 Viole
6 Violoncelli
4 Contrabbassi