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Eight Fragments from Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Eight Fragments from Letters of Vincent van Gogh


  • Instrumentation: baritone and string quartet
  • Édition: Partition et parties
  • Langue : allemand - anglais
  • N° Réf.: ED 20241 Q6601
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Description
With the Eight Fragments Bertold Hummel has successfully created a most impressive work. Uncommonly concentrated in the evoking of atmosphere and reflecting the texts strongly, these "dark grey songs" - to quote Ludwig Hirsch - develop a sadly expressive, almost somnambulant charm. These songs seem to have become Bertold Hummel's completely inwardly turned "Winterreise", the epigram of a psychosis, full of concealed suggestion and dark references, but always more full of hope. The "sun" becomes the constantly invoked bearer of hope.
The music is highly expressive, exploiting the various performing and bowing possibilities of the stringed instruments and their capacity for nuances to the limits; occasionally oppressive visions in sound appear. It is music in danger, of a most fragile balance. Nor are subtle musical references missing. With only one note, following the word "music", harmony and tonality are conjured up. 
Détails
Année de composition: 1985
Contenu du texte:
I
I feel a force in me
a fire that I must not put out, but must keep ablaze, although I don’t know to what end it is leading me and I dare say, a sombre one would not surprise me.
to Theo van Gogh, 5 November 1882, The Hague
 
II
Outside it is dreary; the fields are a clay-pit all clumpy with heavy earth and a little snow; the days here mostly are misty and dirty; morning and evening the ruddy sun, crows and dried-up grass and withered rotting green; black are the bushes and the twigs of the poplars and the willows sharp as wire rigid against dismal sky.
to Theo van Gogh, 1 January 1885, Nuenen
 
III
Those who believe not in sunlight truly are infidels.
to Theo van Gogh, 11 August 1888, Arles
 
IV
Oh, that beautiful sun just here in midsummer. It beats down on one’s head now and for me there’s no doubt that it’s leading to craziness. But, since I’m crazy anyway, I simply enjoy it.
to Emile Bernhard, 18 August 1888, Arles
 
V
Though I am often in turmoil, there’s still deep in me, despite this, a peacefulness and purest harmony and music.
to Theo van Gogh, 20 July 1882, The Hague
 
VI
A man may have a great fire in his soul, but no-one ever comes stopping there to warm himself; and the passers-by will only see a whisper of smoke drifting upwards from the chimney and then they will continue along their way.
to Theo van Gogh, July 1880, Borinage
 
VII
A man who does not feel small, who does not grasp that he’s a grain of dust, makes a fundamental error.
to Theo van Gogh, 4 November 1883, Drenthe
 
VIII
I saw in this reaper a vague figure like a devil, battling in the glowing midday heat so that his labour soon may be ended. I see in this man the image of death and mankind is the corn that is reaped; but in this death there is no sadness, all takes place by bright light of day with such a sun that floods all things with pure and richest golden streams of light.
to Theo van Gogh, 4th or 5th September 1889, Saint-Rémy
 
English translation of German version by William Buchanan and Martin Hummel (2006)
Difficulté: difficile
Durée de la performance: 19'0"
Maison d'édition: SCHOTT MUSIC GmbH & Co KG, Mainz (001)
Nombre de pages: 80
Opus: op. 84
With the Eight Fragments Bertold Hummel has successfully created a most impressive work. Uncommonly concentrated in the evoking of atmosphere and reflecting the texts strongly, these "dark grey songs" - to quote Ludwig Hirsch - develop a sadly expressive, almost somnambulant charm. These songs seem to have become Bertold Hummel's completely inwardly turned "Winterreise", the epigram of a psychosis, full of concealed suggestion and dark references, but always more full of hope. The "sun" becomes the constantly invoked bearer of hope.
The music is highly expressive, exploiting the various performing and bowing possibilities of the stringed instruments and their capacity for nuances to the limits; occasionally oppressive visions in sound appear. It is music in danger, of a most fragile balance. Nor are subtle musical references missing. With only one note, following the word "music", harmony and tonality are conjured up. 
Année de composition: 1985
Contenu du texte:
I
I feel a force in me
a fire that I must not put out, but must keep ablaze, although I don’t know to what end it is leading me and I dare say, a sombre one would not surprise me.
to Theo van Gogh, 5 November 1882, The Hague
 
II
Outside it is dreary; the fields are a clay-pit all clumpy with heavy earth and a little snow; the days here mostly are misty and dirty; morning and evening the ruddy sun, crows and dried-up grass and withered rotting green; black are the bushes and the twigs of the poplars and the willows sharp as wire rigid against dismal sky.
to Theo van Gogh, 1 January 1885, Nuenen
 
III
Those who believe not in sunlight truly are infidels.
to Theo van Gogh, 11 August 1888, Arles
 
IV
Oh, that beautiful sun just here in midsummer. It beats down on one’s head now and for me there’s no doubt that it’s leading to craziness. But, since I’m crazy anyway, I simply enjoy it.
to Emile Bernhard, 18 August 1888, Arles
 
V
Though I am often in turmoil, there’s still deep in me, despite this, a peacefulness and purest harmony and music.
to Theo van Gogh, 20 July 1882, The Hague
 
VI
A man may have a great fire in his soul, but no-one ever comes stopping there to warm himself; and the passers-by will only see a whisper of smoke drifting upwards from the chimney and then they will continue along their way.
to Theo van Gogh, July 1880, Borinage
 
VII
A man who does not feel small, who does not grasp that he’s a grain of dust, makes a fundamental error.
to Theo van Gogh, 4 November 1883, Drenthe
 
VIII
I saw in this reaper a vague figure like a devil, battling in the glowing midday heat so that his labour soon may be ended. I see in this man the image of death and mankind is the corn that is reaped; but in this death there is no sadness, all takes place by bright light of day with such a sun that floods all things with pure and richest golden streams of light.
to Theo van Gogh, 4th or 5th September 1889, Saint-Rémy
 
English translation of German version by William Buchanan and Martin Hummel (2006)
Difficulté: difficile
Durée de la performance: 19'0"
Maison d'édition: SCHOTT MUSIC GmbH & Co KG, Mainz (001)
Nombre de pages: 80
Opus: op. 84