Sir Harrison Birtwistle: 3 Settings of Celan

Sir Harrison Birtwistle 3 Settings of Celan
3 Settings of Celan

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: 3 Settings of Celan

Year of composition:
1989-1994
Scored for:
for soprano, 2 clarinets, viola, violoncello and double bass
Composer:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Text author:
Paul Celan
Original language:
German
Translator:
Michael Hamburger
Soloists:
soprano
Instrumentation details:
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(A))
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Table of contents:
Weiss und Leicht (White and Light)
Nacht (Night)
Tenebrae
Commission:
Commissioned by The Composers Ensemble
Duration:
15’
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Work introduction

Altogether Birtwistle set nine of Celan’s poems to music. Universal Edition publishes Night, White and Light and Tenebrae (each of which can be performed alone) as well as three of his nine short string quartets. (The other six songs and quartets are available from Boosey [&] Hawkes). When performed together, the nine songs and nine quartets alternating as part of a single work are called collectively Pulse Shadows. The three Celan settings are slow laments; Tenebrae, in which the poet addresses God directly, is the most animated.

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