Sieh, ich starb als Stein....             

(As Stone I Died – after Maulāna Jalāluddīn Rūmī and Friedrich Rückert, 2002)

mezzosoprano, flute, clarinet in A, trumpet, percussion

8 minutes

- included in United Phoenix Records (2015) -

This chamber cantata, written in 2002, has appeared at various venues includıng the festival "KlanGriffe" (2002), the Karlsruhe European Festival of Cultures (2004) and, the Festival for Ekmelic Music 2011 (Salzburg) and at Basel's Gare du Nord (CH, 2009).  

The work is dedicated to the philologist and orientalist Prof. Dr. Georg Bossong who initially introduced me to both Arabic and Farsi in my private studies of Near-Eastern languages.

The poem describes the Sufi path as the stepwise annihilation of the Ego (nafs) and its ultimate unification with God. Composed twice upon both the original version and Friedrich Rückert's translation of the poem, this work offers a musical translation, connecting the dreamy, Romanticist interpretation of the German translation with the more striking, dramatic language of Rūmīs's approach. Based on the close relationship between the two Indo-European languages, the music is thus able to convey meaning even on a discreet, grammatical level.

While Rückert did not translate the two last verses of Rūmī’s poem, I decided to use them in form of an epilogue in which, likewise as a musical recapitulation, the initial melodic features are being readdressed. The last sentence, in-nā ‘ilayhi raĝi ̉ūn (“indeed, to Him we shall return”), introduced by the Persian conjunction ké, figures as a quotation from the Qur’ān where it indeed appears as a frequent formula .

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