"In die Luft geschrieben" - premiere February 22nd, 2018

January 21, 2017
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"In die Luft geschrieben" - premiere ...
Written for and commissioned by Münchener Kammerorchester
Upon “Grabschriften in die Luft geschrieben” by Nelly Sachs (Werke. Kommentierte Ausgabe in vier Bänden, Suhrkamp. Band I: Gedichte 1940–1950, pp. 26-31, pp. 153-160).
For mezzosoprano, harp, celesta, percussion and string orchestra (
Duration: 33 minutes


33 poems by Nelly Sachs set into music with no caesura making a unique, fluent piece. Poems can be submitted to music treatments of different lengths: very short (20 seconds) up to 2 minutes ca.
All poems evoke a person and have the initial of her/him in the title except three.
The three poems with no initials of the person who is depicted (the mother, the child, the lovers) are used to shape the form of the whole piece in four parts:

7 poems with initials / 1 poem without
7 with / 1 without
8 with / 1 without
7 with / instrumental coda

During the poems with no initials the singer move to another position where she "writes" the initials of the unknown person with a gesture (e. g. rubbing a thunder sheet with a needle, or articulating a name voiceless but moving the lips...).
The singer's gestures act as triggers of a sound event in the orchestra, initially working as a "sound track" of the gesture, then developing into a musically shaped frame while the singer steps into the new position. At the end of the piece the singer can join the musicians for the coda and "play" together an instrument (a real one - bells? -, or an imaginary one, or a sound object like stones).

The initials of the names become musical letters (name of notes or sounds) and provide a symbolic content and constraints to images, thoughts, meanings, feelings offered by the poem to music interpretation.

In die Luft geschrieben - index

01 Der Blinde [R.A.]
02 Die Hellsichtige [G.C.]
03 Der Hausierer [G.F.]
04 Die Ertrunkene [A.N.]
05 Die Schwachsinnige [B.H.]
06 Die Blutende [H.H.] - Wanderchaconne
07 Schlichtes Herz [B.J.]
08 Die Mutter

Perleninterludium (triggered by a sound gesture of the singer)
09 Der Spinozaforscher [H. H.]
10 Die Abenteurerin [A. N.]
11 Die alles Vergessende [A. R.]
12 Der Steinsammler [E. C.]
13 Der Narr [H. F.]
14 Die Tänzerin [D. H.] - Sarabande cit. (Bach: Violin Partita No. 2 in D min. BWV 1004, III)
15 Der junge Prediger [H. M.]
16 Die Liebenden
Wassersteininterludium (triggered by a sound gesture of the singer)
17 Der Pilger [L. H.]
18 Die Braut [A. H.]
19 Die Malerin [M. Z.]
20 Der Gärtner [E. B.]
21 Die wahnsinnige Mutter sang [M.L.]
22 Der Lumpenhändler [J. C.] - Wanderchaconne
23 Die an der Sehnsucht starb [U. K.]
24 Der Besiegte [W. B.]
25 Das Kind
Sandinterludium (triggered by a sound gesture of the singer)
26 Die Schauspielerin [E. L.]
27 Der Lächelnde [A. S.]
28 Die Wahnsinnige [M. M.]
29 Der Marionettenspieler [K. G.] - Sarabande cit. (Bach: Violin Partita No. 2 in D min. BWV 1004, III)
30 Die Markthändlerin [B. M.]
31 Der Ruhelose [K.F.]
32 Sie, die ihrem Kinde das Grab grub [M. A.]
33 Der vielleicht nicht Gute [J. L.]
Abschied im Licht - Wanderchaconne + Sarabande progressively covered by a thick blank texture

N.B. Colour highlights shows the musical links between the songs

In die Luft geschrieben - stage setup

CREDITS Web Press and CARGO visual OFFICE