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.