for variable ensemble
Keine Sandkunst Mehr
Poems by Paul Celan from the collection "Atemwende"
Paul Celan is one of the most commonly set poets of the 20th century. The bulk of these setting are from the first half of his career, poems such as Tenebrae and Todesfuge which were widely anthologized in the 50s and 60s. The likely appeal of these poems to composers is Celan’s attention to rhythm, repetition, and an essentially musical form. However, Paul Celan moved away from this style, writing increasingly spare and private poetry, without the rhetorical tone and devices from the earlier works.This may have to do with how he felt his poetry was being misused. This shift occurs in the collection Atemwende (Breathturn) where these songs are taken from. In my settings, I simply try to find the music of these poems. Form and repetition are replaced by words in-and-for-themselves, and the white of a near-empty page.