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Instrumentation: vocal ensemble of six singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass), six “ghost-singers” (same ones pre recorded and electronically processed), and a six-channel live electronic installation
Duration: 8 minutes
World Premiere: April 13, 2019, Maestro Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers, Advent Lutheran Church, NYC
The poem Stimmen (Voices) from Sprachgitter (Speech-Grille) by Paul Celan comprises eight fragments, each of which represents a different voice or group of voices “speaking”. Some of them are the voices of nature. In some of them it is clear that the speakers reflect the poet’s broader ancestral tradition. One might say that he accepted the dead as his muse. Specifically he saw himself as a conduit for those who had perished in the Holocaust and no longer had a voice of their own.
The work delves into the role various narratives and voices have in shaping both individual and collective identity. The process of creating a shared social and cultural memory derives its validity from various sources such as oral testimony, historical archives, academic studies, and physical spaces. Analogously in Stimmen I invite audiences to explore their own personal process, and revisit their shared narrative in an attempt to fortify a collective experience, a memory, while it is frequently altered and obscured.
In memory of Arie Shapira, my teacher.