Song Without Words by Theodor Adorno : string quartet
by Luke Altmann (2012)
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When it ends and while it ends, something comes, after so much rage, persistence, obstinacy, extravagance: something entirely unexpected and touching in its mildness and goodness. With the motif passed through many vicissitudes, which takes leave and so doing becomes itself entirely leave-taking, a parting wave and call, with this D G G occurs a slight change, it experiences a small melodic expansion. After an introductory C, it puts a C sharp before the D, so that it no longer scans "heaven's blue," "meadowland," but "0 thou heaven's blue," "Greenest meadowland," "Fare thee well for aye," and this added C sharp is the most moving, consolatory, pathetically reconciling thing in the world. It is like having one's hair or cheek stroked, lovingly, understandingly, like a deep and silent farewell look. It C... ) lies in parting so gently on the hearer's heart in eternal farewell that the eyes run over. "Now forget the pain," it says. "Great was God in us." "'Twas all but a dream," "Friendly be to me." C. . . )
With this Kretschmar went away, accompanied by thin but prolonged applause, and we went too, not a little reflective, weighed down by all these novelties. Most of us C... ) as we put on our coats and hats and walked out, hummed bemusedly to ourselves the impression of the evening, the theme-generating motif of the second movement, in its original and its leave-taking form, and for a long time we heard it like an echo from the remoter streets into which the audience dispersed, the quiet night streets of the little town: "Fare thee well," "Fare thee well for aye," "Great was God in us."
from Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann.
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Duration: 10 min.
First performance: by Langbein String Quartet — 22 Oct 12. Pilgrim Church, Adelaide
Performances of this work
22 Oct 12: Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Featuring Langbein String Quartet.
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