Random header image... Refresh for more!

Six Cavafy Songs

Six Cavafy Songs (2009) for baritone and ensemble

Ik schrijf graag voor ensemble omdat het zoveel mogelijkheden biedt om met kleuren te werken. Insomnio gaf me de gelegenheid om een liederencyclus voor mannenstem te componeren. Voor de teksten viel mijn keuze op de prachtige, melancholische gedichten van de Griekse dichter Constantine Petrou Cavafy. Het zijn mijmeringen over de vergankelijkheid van het leven, voorbije (mannen)liefdes, nachtelijk genot. Herinneringen aan huid en lippen, aan handen en aanrakingen vervullen de dichter met weemoed. Liefde is liefde: het maakt me niet uit tussen wie het zich afspeelt – als het maar mooi is. Ik heb gedurende mijn leven nog nooit liederen gecomponeerd die over de liefde gaan. Het werd tijd.

Gecomponeerd in opdracht van het Fonds Podiumkunsten voor Insomnio.
1.1.1.1 – 1.1.1.0 – 2perc – piano – 1.1.1.1.1

Wereldpremière 28 maart 2010 door Insomnio olv Ulrich Pöhl en baritone Olle Persson in De Witte Dame in Eindhoven, gevolgd door een uitvoering in de Leeuwenberghkerk in Utrecht op 3 april.

Six songs on text by C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933)
1.Since nine o’clock
2.The afternoon sun
3.Come back
4.Remember, body….
5.As much as you can
6.Hidden things

1. Since nine o’clock
Twelve-thirty. Time passes quickly
since nine o’clock when I lit the lamp
and sat down here. I’ve been sitting here, not reading,
not speaking. Whom could I speak to
all alone in the house?

Since nine o’clock when I lit the lamp
the image of my young body
came and reminded me
of closed, perfumed rooms
and past pleasure – what daring pleasure!
And it also brought before my eyes
streets that now are unrecognizable,
nightclubs full of life, now closed,
and theaters and cafés that used to be.

The image of my young body
came and brought me sorrows as well:
family mourning, separations,
feelings of my kin, little appreciated feelings
of the dead.

Twelve-thirty. How quickly time passes.
Twelve-thirty. How quickly the years pass.
(1918)

      Since nine o'clock, 5'09

2. The afternoon sun
This room, how well I know it.
Now they rent it and the one next door
as commercial offices. The whole house became
offices for agents and merchants and companies.
Ah, this room, how familiar.
The couch was near the door, here;
in front, a Turkish rug;
near the couch, two yellow vases on a shelf.
On the right, no, across from it, was an armoire with a mirror.
In the middle, the table where he wrote
and three wicker chairs.
Next to the window was the bed
where we made love so many times.
These sad things must still be somewhere.
Next to the window was the bed;
the afternoon sun spread across halfway .
. . . One afternoon at four o’clock, we separated,
just for a week…. Alas,
that week became forever.
(1919)

      The afternoon sun, 3'43

3. Come back
Come back often and take me,
beloved sensation, come back and take me –
when my body’s memory wakes up
and an old desire courses through the blood again,
when lips and skin remember
and feel hands as if they touched  again.

Come back of ten and take me at night
when lips and skin remember….
(1912)

      Come back, 1'54

4. Remember, body….
Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds where you lay,
but also those desires for you,
shining clearly in eyes
and trembling in a voice – and some chance
obstacle thwarted them.
Now when everything is the past,
it almost looks as if you gave yourself
to those desires as well – how they shone –
remember-in the eyes that looked at you,
how they trembled for you in the voice – remember, body.
(1917 or 1918)

      Remember, body....,3'50

5. As much as you can
Even if you can’t make your life as you want it,
at least try
as much as you can: don’t cheapen it
with too much contact with the world,
with too much activity and talk.

Don’t cheapen it, taking it around,
constantly making the rounds, exposing it
to socializing and parties,
the daily nonsense,
until it becomes an alien burden.
(1913)

      As much as you can, 1'54

6. Hidden things
From all I did and all I said
let them not try to find out who I was,
An obstacle stood before me and transformed
my acts and my way of life.
An obstacle stood before me and stopped  me
so often from what I was going to say.
My most unnoticed acts
and my most veiled writings –
only from these will they know me.
But maybe it’s not worth it to devote
so much care and effort to knowing me.
Later – in a more perfect society –
someone made like me
will certainly appear and act freely.
 (1908)

      Hidden things, 2'59

“Since Nine O’Clock-“, “The Afternoon Sun”, “Come Back”, “Remember, Body … “, “As Much as You Can”, “Hidden Things” from THE COLLECTED POEMS OF C.P.CAVAFY
translated by Aliki Barnstone. Copyright © 2006 by Aliki Barnstone. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.