for SATB soli (2003)


Text: Rilke, Neue Gedichte II

f.p. EXAUDI, National Portrait Gallery, London, October 2003

may be performed as a pair with Liebeslied als Geige.

Selbstbildnis als Laute (‘Self-portrait as a lute’), conflates two poems: in the first, sung by the lower three parts, Rilke imagines himself as the lute in a portrait of a sixteenth-century courtesan. The lute describes itself, and how its mistress Tullia ‘took a little sound from my surfaces into her countenance, and sang to me.’ At this point the soprano (Tullia) begins a gentle Lullaby in a different tonality, and the lute gradually tunes itself up to her, until finally it says ‘my heart entered into her.’