Blühen

for soprano, piano and string sextet (2020 – 2021)

Duration: c. 12 minutes

This song cycle is a portrait of the German fin-de-siècle poet Richard Dehmel. Lines and stanzas from five of Dehmel’s poems are woven together to give glimpses of a world vision which trembles on the brink of Expressionism, seeped through with an mystical, weary Romanticism. I have attempted to create a continuity of image from the storms of desire (Ansturm) through the haunted, nocturnal ‘blossoming’ of death-soaked flowers (Maiblumen blühten überall), a gnomic vision of a lonely, inhuman place (Aufblick) leading to a chilling apparition (Erwartung) and finally, the ambiguous horror of true recognition (Die stille Stadt). 

Blühen is commissioned by the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide as recipient of the John Bishop Memorial Commission 2020.

First performance: 5 March, 2021 UKARIA, Adelaide Festival by Jessica Aszodi (soprano), Jack Symonds (piano), Australian String Quartet, James Wannan & Blair Harris

Listen to Blühen performed by Jessica Aszodi (soprano), Jack Symonds (piano), Australian String Quartet, James Wannan & Blair Harris

View the complete score here

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