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Michael Nyman - Six Celan Songs / The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi

Michael Nyman - Six Celan Songs / The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi

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1. Chanson Einer Dame Im Schatten
2. Es War Erde In Ihnen
3. Psalm
4. Corona
5. Nächtlich Geschürzt
6. Blume
7. The Ballad Of Kastriot Rexhepi

Label: MN Records
Cat No: MNRCD108

Six Celan Songs/The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi couples two of Michael Nyman's major vocal pieces of 1991 and 2001 and two favoured singers of the composer, Hilary Summers and Sarah Leonard. Six Celan Songs is Michael Nyman's most profound song cycle, composed in 1990 for Ute Lemper. Nyman selected six of Paul Celan's less hermetic texts, accidentally, perhaps, all featuring flower symbolism in a kind of 'negative theology', representing Celan's attempt as a poet to come to terms with the impossibility, according to Adorno, of writing poetry 'after Auschwitz'. The songs, individually and collectively, express both the horror, the emptiness of the writer in exile and are cast in a musical language which attempts to 'reinvent' an imaginary emotional world related to the Romanian background in 1920s Bukovina, where Celan was born.

The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi, unlike the Six Celan Songs, deals directly with a war situation – an 18-month- old Kosovan boy left for dead during the Kosovo war, found and re-named by the Serbs and 6 months later reunited with his parents. It is the most recent in Nyman's series of collaborations with visual artists, in this case the American feminist/conceptualist Mary Kelly. Kelly provided the composer with a complex text in a simple ballad form which Nyman brilliantly subverts in his continuous 18-minute piece, written for Sarah Leonard and the Nyman Quartet and first performed surrounded by Kelly's visual representation of the text in the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 2001.

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