»for Donna«

Version for Soprano and Piano op. 20 I a (1987)

I. Nun schlummert meine Seele (My soul now slumbers)

Duration: ca. 3 minutes
Premiere: 1987, Paris

Score (Extract, Pdf)

II. Ich träume so leise von dir (I dream so softly of you)

Duration: ca. 3 minutes
1993, Bratislava

Published by Edition Contemp Art (Verlagsgruppe Hermann),
Obtainable via www.schott-music.com
Product number: VGH 64-70 (Score and part)


Version for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble op. 20 I b (1995)

for I: flute, 2 violins, viola, cello, and piano; for II: flute (piccolo) clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, viola, cello, and piano Score (Extract, Pdf)

Premiere of the first version: 1987, Graz, in the Musikprotokoll of the »Steirischer Herbst« (Styrian Autumn), with Donna Robin and the Ensemble Wiener Collage, conducted by René Staar
Premiere of the revised version: September 20, 1997, in the Broadcast Hall of the Austrian Radio ORF, in the 10th anniversary concert of the Ensemble Wiener Collage, again with Donna Robin and René Staar


Published by Edition Contemp Art (Verlagsgruppe Hermann),
Obtainable via www.schott-music.com
Product number: VGH 50-22 (Piano reduction)
Product number: VGH 50-71 (Score and parts)


About the songs:

In 1986, shortly after I had received the newly instituted Ernst Krenek Prize of the City of Vienna, I was invited by the Musikprotokoll in Graz to present two new works. I then simultaneously wrote … ich bin es, ohne dass es mir gleicht ... (on texts of the Islamic mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi, in the interpretatory poetic translation by Michael Cerha), and several songs on texts of Else Lasker-Schüler, Rilke, and Trakl, which I gathered under the title Songs of Love and Longing, a collection that was originally intended to include further settings.

A revision of this work for soprano and chamber orchestra led me to finally withdraw it and to write a new version of two of the songs, those on texts by Else Lasker-Schüler. This new version (1995) incorporated not only a new instrumentation, but led also to an additional piano version, so that today two versions of these songs are available.

The songs are dedicated to Donna Robin, who premiered the first version of the work in 1987. She was accompanied by the newly founded Ensemble Wiener Collage. These appeared in 1998 on the CD »10 Jahre Ensemble Wiener Collage«. (René Staar, Translation: Jorge E. López)


My soul now slumbers—

The storm has downed its trunks,
Oh, my soul was a forest.

Have you heard me cry?
Your eyes are wide open, anxious.
Stars sow night
In my spilled blood.

My soul now slumbers
Trembling on tiptoe.

Oh, my soul was a forest;
Palms shadowed,
Love hung on the branches.
Console my soul in its slumber.

{English version by Jorge E. López}

I dream so softly of you

Painful colors always come in the morning,
They are like your soul.

Oh, I have to think of you,
And everywhere bloom eyes so sad.

And I’ve told you of giant stars,
But you looked towards the Earth.

Nights grow out of my head,
I don’t know where I should go.

I dream so softly of you,
The silk already hangs white over my eyes.

Why haven’t you for my sake
Left the Earth—won’t you tell me?

{English version by Jorge E. López}