• Rebecca Saunders
  • traces (2009)
    (for orchestra)

  • Henry Litolff’s Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (World)


Commissioned by Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Northern Sinfonia & Staatskapelle Dresden. First performed 17 November 2006 by NDR Hamburg NDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Stefan Ashbury.

Revised version commissioned by Staatskappelle Dresden. First performed 26 August 2009 at Semperoper Dresden by Staatskapelle Dresden, donducted by Fabio Luisi.

  • 0.2.2(II:bcl).0/
  • 14 min

Programme Note

„The word connects the visible trace with the invisible thing, the absent thing, the thing that is desired or feared, like a frail emergency bridge flung over an abyss.“

Exactitude, from Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino.


trace1 /treIs/ v. & n. –v.tr.
(small amount of) Spur, Hauch;
(draw) Zeichnen;
(follow) verfolgen;
(track down) Aufspüren;
(trace back to) Zurückverfolgen;
(path) Weg/Pfad.


trace1 /treIs/ v. & n. –v.tr.
observe, discover, or find vestiges or signs of by investigation;
follow or mark the track or position of;
follow back to its origins;
mark out, delineate, sketch, or write;
pursue one´s way along (a path).
–n. a sign or mark or other indication of something having existed; a vestige.
(ME f. OF trace (n.) tracier (v.) f. L tractus drawing)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary


„Es ist die Sache für sich, abgesondert von allem andern, aus dem Bedürfnis sie zu sehen, aus dem Bedürfnis zu sehen. Das Unbewegliche im Leeren, das ist endlich das Sichtbare, das reine Objekt......

„It is the thing in itself, isolated from all other things. Born out of the necessity to see it, and the need to see for seeing´s sake. The motionless in emptiness, that is, at last, the visible thing, the pure object............ “

Die Welt und die Hose by Samuel Beckett, Suhrkamp Verlag.



BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov


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