Deux Pièces Pour Clavecin (2019)
Zauberland was commissionned by Les Bouffes du Nord, Paris.
SYNOPSIS As violence blazes across the Near East and refugees gather at Europe’s borders, a young woman waits to be given a new home — and for herself and her children to be taught a new language — one in which heart rhymes with pain. But when she falls asleep, her mind fills with memories of past love, and of strange images of the bombed-out city she’s been forced to leave.
Taking Robert Schumann and Heinrich Heine’s Dichterliebe as a point of departure, this new work opens up a dialogue between past and present — and between European culture and its eastern Mediterranean origins. While never losing sight of the pure beauty of the lyric, with all its connotations of sensuality and longing.
Armed poets come to fill their cages. Look ! — massing in al-Medina suq the line for singing birds winds on — on — like the melisma of love-song.
There is an unsolved mystery about Schumann’s Dichterliebe (1844) — settings of poems from Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo from his Buch der Lieder (1827). Originally a sequence in manuscript of 20 songs, 4 songs (2 groups of 2) were cut before publication to make the famous “cycle” of 16 we currently know. We have therefore taken the two points where songs were removed as an invitation to intervene in — and finally to extend Dichterliebe itself, a gesture wich alludes to original 19th century performance practice, in which it was common to break up performances of so-called “cycles” with other music.
The 19 new songs presented here include three songs directly associated with Dicherliebe: the first one must be performed between the Lieder IV and V, the second one between Lieder XII and XIII, the third one directly after the last Schumann Lied. Then follows a series of 16 songs that echo the 16 Lieder of Schumann’s last version of Dichterliebe.
Zauberland will be premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, on April 5, 2019, performed by Julia Bullock, soprano, and Cédric Tiberghien, piano.
It will be staged by Katie Mitchell, with set and costumes by Chloe Lamford, lighting by James Farncombe.
The estimated duration of the evening (Dichterliebe + Zauberland) is about 1h15.
From April 2021, this piece can be performed in concert form, with or without Dichterliebe. If it is performed as a cycle without Dichterliebe, the cycle should begin with “ I walk in the dark ”, and the first song “ Ah dead even so ” should be omitted. From the same date, the songs may also be performed independently.
Martin Crimp & Bernard Foccroulle