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Tongue of the invisible : baritone voice with chamber ensemble

by Liza Lim (2011)

Audio Sample

Performance by Uri Caine, Omar Ebrahim, André de Ridder, Ensemble musikFabrik from the CD Tongue of the invisible

Tongue of the invisible


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Tongue of the invisible / Liza Lim.

Library shelf no. CD 2499 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

A one-hour song cycle composed by Liza Lim, setting the poetry of Hafez translated/ adapted by Jonathan Holmes, for baritone, improvising pianist and 16 musicians.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: A work for improvising musician, baritone and 16 musicians 1 (Afl. Picc). 1 (Lupophon). 1 (Bkl. Kbkl). Asax (Barsax). 1 (Contraforte). / 1. 1 (Doppeltrtr. Flhr). Tbps. 0. Eu. / Schlzg. Cim. / 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.

Duration: 60 min.

Contents note: 1. At dawn I heard the tongue of the invisible -- 2. Between the pages of the world (i) -- 3. This door is the mouth of love -- 4. Between the pages of the world (ii) -- 5. The roots of the world are entwined in the wind -- 6. Between the pages of the world (iii) -- 7. Encircling its towers with a silver coronet of song -- 8. Our embraces are a banquet of revolving time.

Commission note: Commissioned by Holland Festival, Ensemble musikFabrik.. Commissioned by the Holland Festival, musikFabrik and Kunststiftung NRW

First performance: by Omar Ebrahim, Uri Caine, Ensemble musikFabrik, André de Ridder — 8 Jun 11. Bimhuis, Amsterdam


Article: Distributed Creativity and Ecological Dynamics: A Case Study of Liza Lim’s ‘Tongue of the Invisible’
by Eric Clarke, Mark Doffman, and Liza Lim; Oxford University, University of Huddersfield © OUP
Music and Letters, OUP (Pay per view)
This essay addresses distributed creative processes in the preparation and performance of a new musical work—Tongue of the Invisible by Liza Lim, commissioned by the Cologne-based Ensemble musikFabrik. Situating the research within a broadly ecological perspective, and in the specific context of the interface between composition, improvisation, and performance, the study offers a social and distributed understanding of creative production.


Performances of this work

25 Jun 11: Kalus-von-Bismarck-Saal, WDR Funkhaus in the Wallrafplatz, Cologne, Germany. Featuring Uri Caine, Omar Ebrahim, André de Ridder, Ensemble musikFabrik.

8 Jun 11: Bimhuis, Amsterdam. Featuring Omar Ebrahim, Uri Caine, Ensemble musikFabrik, André de Ridder.

User reviews

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My favourite Australian art song repertoire

Posted by Australian Music Centre on 22 July, 2013

The AMC asked leading practitioners to select their favourite Australian art song repertoire, to provide delegates to the 2013 International Conference of Vocal Teachers (Brisbane 2013) with an introduction to this rich and diverse landscape.
This piece for baritone, improvising pianist and 16-piece instrumental ensemble is a recent addition to Lim’s considerable body of vocal music. Her works have significantly expanded and enriched the palate of vocal writing in the musical world at large; this work makes use of a fabulously diverse range of rhythmic, timbral and stylistic characters inspired by the words of the Sufi poet Hafez. The poetry raises complex issues of performer, audience and environmental subjectivity and these are wonderfully realized in the music. In addition to lengthy sections led by the virtuoso baritone, the piece makes use of extensive instrumental solos that push the instruments at least as hard as the singer, in the pursuit of fascinating timbres and intense expression.
Jessica Aszodi