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2 sopranos and clarinet

“Whenever the character becomes involved in the action, and the latter in turn, more seriously involved with the character, it is necessary”, says the philosopher of music Ernst Bloch, “to break the lyrical matrix more decisively and leave it open.”

And so it is with Offenes Lied, where the female singers become in my mind the fragile flowers of Heinrich Heine, and then the voices of all humans fearing the cruelty of others.

Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen [Wintermorgen]
Geh’ich im Garten [Lager] herum.
Es flüstern und sprechen [und singen] die Blumen,
Ich aber wandle stumm.

Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
Und schau’n mitleidig mich an:
Sei unserer Schwester nicht böse,
Du trauriger blasser Mann!

On a clear summer [winter] morning
I went walking in the garden [concentration camp].
Flowers murmurred and spoke [and sang],
But I walked in silence.

Flowers murmurred and spoke,
And they [everyone] looked at me with compassion:
[I beg you! ]
Do no harm to our sister,
You pale and lugubrious man!

[This poem by Heinrich Heine, taken from his Lyrisches Intermezzo (1823), was also used by Robert Schumann in the song cycle, Dichterliebe. Words in brackets are my additions.]

Wie der Mond rot aufgeht! How red the raising moon is!
[This line is taken from Georg Büchner (1814-37) and Alban Berg: Wozzeck, Act III: Marie, before the murder.]

Offenes Lied is divided into five parts performed without a pause:

  1. Erste Szene — Traum,
  2. Kammermusik (I),
  3. Zweite Szene — Melodram,
  4. Kammermusik (II),
  5. Dritte Szene — Tod.

Offenes Lied was designated as a recommended work during the International Rostrum of Composers (UNESCO) in Paris — May 1989.


  • Score available at Éditions Doberman-Yppan (Québec, 1992).
  • Recording: CD: Doberman DO 135