Dramatic Monologue for baritone and chamber ensemble
Text and music by René Staar
Russian version of the libretto: Natalya Kamaeva-Gründler

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling on Piccolo); Clarinet in B flat; Trumpet (playing both C and B flat trumpets); Trombone; Percussion; Accordion; Piano; 1 Violin; 1 Viola; 1 Cello; 1 Bass

Premiere: June 18, 2015, Konzerthaus Vienna (Berio-Saal), Ensemble Wiener Collage (37. Internationales Musikfest der Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft)

Duration: 15 minutes

 

INTRODUCTION

Exile is seen here provocatively and with a tone of accusation, through the eyes of a continually rejected contemporary asylum seeker. He is not a polite and patient man. His adversaries are breathing down his neck, those from his homeland as well as those from the countries that appear to preach humanism and human rights.

He is no begging petitioner. Driven by the longing for peace and justice as well as by disillusionment, he vehemently demands the right to be accepted. His protest is imbued with self-confidence. He would so gladly believe that his case will be granted, but he runs up against the laws that prevent this—laws that he cannot reconcile with his feeling for justice. His indignation regarding this has transformed his disappointment into cold arrogance.

In a short prelude the atmosphere of fear and confinement becomes audible. Throughout the whole piece the protagonist lives with the fear of being discovered, rejected, and indeed even being destroyed. The stage becomes the staging of the rapidly fluctuating emotional states of the anonymous protagonist. Despite the gravity of the situation he seems to play with his own feelings, to sound them out. The audience (a stranger that seems to support the laws that hunt him down) is just as much his enemy as that which can be concretely felt behind the curtain, that which at the end of the piece reveals itself as the militia that tracks him down, captures and beats him, and … The noise behind the stage continuously threatens to interrupt and terminate his passionate appeal and vehement accusation.

The first five measures played in retrograde make up the end of the piece.

The work was written as prologue to an evening of four one-act works, all of them devoted to the theme of exile. But it can also be played in combination with other works or by itself, scenically or concertante.

For performance in connection with other one-act works the composer has written a march which uses the harmonic material of the prologue and has four different endings, or better said: connections to the forthcoming work. These can be used as transitions respective to the specific performance situation.