The underlying idea of this work is a "magic square", known in China as "Lu Shu". In 1553, it was named Sigillum Saturni" (Seal of Saturn) by the philosopher of religion Agrippa von Nettelsheim, who assigned a magic square to each planet. It is an arrangement of the numbers 1-9 in a grid such that the numbers in all rows, all columns, and both diagonals equal the same constant, which looks like a symbol:
4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6
This three-part composition has a short, freely rhythmical introduction, followed by a variation-like middle section. The changes in this section are a result of constantly changing bars, based on the magical square, which evoke a kind of dance. It culminates in the main section, Danse supplemented by sleigh bells, attached to the legs of the soloist, which with raising effects demand more and more extraordinary abilities to the end. The work is dedicated to Professor Christian Schneider and Heike Steinbrecher, principal Cor Anglas of the Bavarian State Opera, who played the first performance.
There is use of extended technique in this work, and a chart is provided for instructions.
This edition is appropriate for solo oboe, solo English horn, or solo oboe d'amore.