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Ekstasis, opus 43

Sheet Music: Score

Ekstasis, opus 43 : for six solo voices / Andrew Schultz.

by Andrew Schultz (1990)

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  • Library Availability: 783.165525/SCH 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: 2 sopranos, alto, tenor, baritone, bass.
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  • Audio Sample

    From the CD laughter of mermaids


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Ekstasis was composed in August 1990 for the Song Company and is a setting for six solo voices of a passage freely adapted by the composer from the conclusion of The Song of Songs. The eight lines used are erotic love poetry exploring the sensual territory at the border of love and pain, obsessive lust and spiritual transcendence:

Set me like a seal on your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as death,
Jealousy relentless as pain.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of life itsel
Love no flood can drench
no torrents drown

Yet whilst the text is direct and passionate it also has a classical and simple shape, as if the strength of meaning demands a balancing formality of expression.

In Ekstasis, the text is used over and over as if all aspects of its meaning are being explored and implying an overtly erotic dramatic shape for the music's form. In the course of the work, the words are varied slightly but continuously so that the first lines lose their purity and become almost desperate:

Set me like a scar on your soul,
Like a brand on your body.
For love is strong as death,
Time certain as pain.

The music of the piece stems from a few simple sources: a single chord that forms up slowly over a protracted period, sighing glissandi, rapturous moans and calling melodies and a duet refrain that is continuously varied. The work contrasts different possibilities of texture beginning with a solo, then a duet and so on till all six voices are heard. Finally, it closes with a still section - a state of dis-placement or trance, the literal meanings of the Greek word ekstasis.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (16p. -- A4 (landscape))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 10 mins

Dedication note: To Nicole

Commissioned by Roland Peelman, Song Company.

First performance by Song Company — 2 Nov 90. Kincoppal School, Rose Bay, Sydney

Includes full text.

Erotic text drawn from the Song of Songs, adapted freely by the composer from the Jerusalerm Bible original.

Typeset edition.

This edition produced 1 Aug 14.

ISMN: 979-0-720145-91-4

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

laughter of mermaids
CD: The laughter of mermaids / The Song Company.

Song of songs
CD: Song of songs / Andrew Schultz ; The Song Company, directed by Roland Peelman.


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