Composed in 1997 on the occasion of an homage to the German writer, Georg Büchner (1813-1837), Stimme-Allein is a work for baritone without accompaniment. We could refer to it as literary dramatic art. During a perpetual movement but open-worked with sixteenth notes, each letter of the text appears in relief against a backdrop of soft oral sounds (aspirated breaths, barely pronounced vowels, disconnected consonants, vocalized sounds with precise intonation, snatches of words) that serve as a decor and give it a kind of emotional context. The superimposed layers become in a way rhythmic themes that repeat themselves by varying the combinations. This flow is interrupted at certain moments to give way to floating segments of melody, where the voice tries to open up, and to instants of silence, where all that remains of the text is the sound of a stylet writing on a wooden or metal plaque. This writing, moreover, delivers the mysterious meaning of the work. The mechanical character of the text delivered in isolated letters could translate its origin: in his piece, Léonce et Léna, Büchner describes the marriage in effigy of two royal children replaced by automats. But these automats are in reality the married parties themselves putting on an act. Man’s condition places him between the two intoxicating powers of a blind mechanism and an unfathomable abyss.

Vincent Ranallo [English translation: Oliver Haeffeley, iii-13]