Alireza Farhang (1976)
Immortal Beauty (2013)
for soprano and four recorders
- General information
Composition date :
- Duration : 8 mn
- Commission: Impuls
- Composition date : 2013
- Vocal music and instrument(s) [1 voix soliste et vent]
- soprano, 4 recorders
22 April 2014
Allemagne, Berlin, BKA Theater
Eva Resch, soprano ; le Quartet New Generation.
No better imagery than Shakespeare’s masterpiece sonnet XII illustrates the poetic progression of this piece. When a written work is sung the structure of the piece leads often to two different approaches. The composer can either be literal and respect the way the text is constructed trivializing the music or, on the contrary focus on the music distorting the linearity of the text and using it as a ‘pretext’ for composition.
Although the piece is shaped to fit in the textual evolution of the poem, the composer often studies the semantic of the text to further explore the music. In the first act the dialogue established between the voice and the sounds of the instruments create a distinctive texture. The repetitions and multiple occurrences in this first act drive the audience to perceive time differently. The chronometry of time clock then confronts the time created by the multiplicity and quality of these occurrences in the piece. The first half of the piece only reveal the first quatrain of the poem. The second half of the piece, is dedicated to the two other quatrains as well as the conclusion of the poem. Although both halves of the piece have the quiet same duration, the concept of time is clearly assimilated in different manners.
In this piece the text is often recited. For instance in the first act the musicians speak or sing into their instruments allowing to enrich the texture of the timbre and harmony of the piece through specific playing modes. On the other hand the voice concludes every sentence with a brief ascending melodic passage till suspension and vanishes to nothingness for an instant. In this process the sentences and words obsessively keep spinning back and forth in the circle of the instruments and the voice. The idea of hope eagerly culminating then brutally coming to an end describes perfectly the progression of this moment in the piece.
After a long moment of contemplation and thinking the second act reaches a level of wisdom. The swiftness of the movements and ascending rhythms suddenly transform into long held-notes that fade gradually. The voice then settles in a registry of tones that progressively get lower. Repetitions and singing no longer exist as the instruments, specifically the Paetzeold and the Knick Bass continue to breathe. This piece joins Shakespeare’s sonnet to extract the thought of time passing, of disappearance and life inevitably ceasing in every particle. However this piece additionally brings to attention the idea of an Immortal Beauty, a new beginning that always conquests and succeeds to the fear of death.