Where Flames a Word (Paul Celan)
SATB div. 13′. Reviews
See the entire score and hear a live performance, here at MusicSpoke.
Available on these CDs:
It Is Time. The Crossing, Donald Nally
A Black Birch in Winter. Voces Musicales, David Puderbaugh. 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year
Joy and Grief and Rest. Khorikos, Alec Galambos
For unaccompanied mixed chorus, commissioned and premiered by The Crossing, Donald Nally, Music Director. Premiered 5 Jun 2009, the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Also performed at the Chorus America 2009 Conference Opening Concert, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, 10 Jun 2009.
“Before your late face” and “I know you, you are the deeply bowed” from Paul Celan, Breathturn, translation from the German by Pierre Joris, Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles. Translation © 1995 by Pierre Joris. Used by permission. “Conversation in the Mountains” from Paul Celan, Collected Prose, translation from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop, The Sheep Meadow Press, Riverdale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Translation © 1986 by Rosmarie Waldrop. Used by permission.
The Crossing, live, second movement, Conversation in the Mountains—“as sublimely beautiful as ever,” David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 Sep 2018:
1. Before your late face
Before your late face,
nights that change me too,
something came to stand,
which was with us once already, un-
touched by thoughts.
2. Conversation in the Mountains
And it was quiet in the mountains where they walked, one and the other.
“You’ve come a long way, have come all the way here…”
“I have. I’ve come, like you.”
“You know. You know and see: The earth folded up here, folded once and twice and three times, and opened up in the middle, and in the middle there is water, and the water is green, and the green is white, and the white comes from even farther up, from the glaciers, and one could say, but one shouldn’t, that this is the language that counts here, the green with the white in it, a language not for you and not for me—because, I ask you, for whom is it meant, the earth, not for you, I say, is it meant, and not for me—a language, well, without I and without You nothing but He, nothing but It, you understand, and She, nothing but that.”
“I understand, I do. After all, I’ve come a long way, I’ve come like you.”
3. I know you, you are the deeply bowed
(I know you, you are the deeply bowed,
I the transpierced, am subject to you.
Where flames a word, would testify for us both?
You—all, all real. I—all delusion.)