Commissioned by the Parlement de Musique

Unavailable for performance.

  • Soprano, Tenor
  • 25 min

Programme Note

This is a piece for voices and instruments with the same performers as Alessandro Scarlatti's Jeremiah's Laments, hence programmable for a single concert.
Ten lieder based on poems by Paul Celan is an homage to the German-speaking poet whose dense and somber language unveils through each poem a feeling of extreme urgency for life.
In the garish, inextinguishable light of history, and at grips with a growing difficulty to live, the poet, through constant practice of lucidity and an accounting of the remnants of memory, endeavours to resist, to stand fast.
These poems (written in 1967) are excerpts from Lichtzwang, the first posthumous collection by Celan, who committed suicide in the River Seine in April 1970.
The theme of destruction, which is common to both texts (the Biblical theme of the destruction of Jerusalem in Jeremiah and the memory of the Holocaust as portrayed by Celan) feels familiar to us at the end of a millennium when the logic of profit prevails over the preservation of the environment and even of man.
The ten lieder are inserted between the individual Laments so that Scarlatti's and Dazzi's musics can continually resonate.
The course of the concert (which lasts about an hour with no intermission) demonstrates that both the texts and the musical texture of Dazzi's music are organically related to Jeremiah's Laments without resorting to a return to the past or to a style quotation.
Both works, through the affects they convey, reflect one another as mirrors, although from a distance. The baroque piece, even in its wrenching aspects, remains connected to the magnificent scale imposed by its style; the contemporary work, while using the same vocal and instrumental means, is impregnated with the awareness of today's horrors and can but stammer out its cry of refusal of barbarity.
Lichtzwang is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

© Gualtierro Dazzi