2. The Cry / The Silence 2:27
3. The Passage of the Siguiriya 1:23
Pintura del Mundo
4. Dialogue 11:07
5. Magog 7:25
Le Cantique des Cantiques (The Song of Songs)
6. Prolog: Sch'ma Israel (Höre, Israel) 6:17
(Hear, O Israel / 5. Moses 6,4-9)
7. I. Nordwind erwache! Südwind herbei! 4:08
(Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south / The Song of Songs 4.16)
8. II. Ich schlafe, aber mein Herz wacht 9:48
(I sleep, but my heart waketh / The Song of Songs 5.2)
9. III. Am Tage seiner Hochzeit 3:46
(In the day of his espousals / The Song of Songs 3.11)
10. IV. Zieh mich mit dir, jauchzen wir und jubeln 5:59
(Draw me, we will run after thee: we will be glad and rejoice in thee / The Song of Songs 1.4)
11. V. Stark wie der Tod ist die Liebe 10:17
(Love is strong as death / The Song of Songs 8.6)
Guernica and Other Paintings
Labor Records releases the music of Walter Steffens, a collection of works introducing the German composer’s pioneering work with music set to art.
The tenacity with which German composer Walter Steffens has explored the musical equivalent of paintings is unmatched in the history of music. Labor Records latest release explores Steffens’ labyrinthine worlds of sound and image and his extraordinary project—a body of work with music written in response to eighty paintings to date.
Expanding and deepening a tradition that began with paraphrases of pictures, Steffens’ compositions transpose paintings into musical works by means of allusions, associations, and experimental treatments of the paintings’ corresponding formal elements, made possible by his extensive musical vocabulary and uncommonly strong emotional response to art. The four works comprising Guernica and Other Paintings each utilize different means and strategies to respond to the unique challenges demanded by the musical reflection on each painting.
Experiencing these works, performed by some of Germany’s top artists and ensembles, is to enter into the worlds of each painting, to listen to them. Guernica after Pablo Picasso—an elegy for viola and orchestra—sublimely evokes Picasso’s masterpiece and laments the tragic events that provoked the painter’s indignation. In Siguiriya for mixed choir, Steffens ruminates on the haunting interplay of Edvard Munch’s paintings and three poems by García Lorca. Pintura del Mundo for orchestra after Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights creates a disturbingly powerful atmosphere that sonically resurrects the symbolic and visionary triptych. The prolific organist Friedhelm Flamme admirably harnesses the forces unleashed by Steffens’ Le cantique des cantiques—a symphony for organ that works through the Biblical iconography in each of the five oils in Marc Chagall’s set.
This collection of works represents not only the creative achievements of Walter Steffens as an eminently inventive composer, but also his significant contribution to a genre of music characterized by very particular challenges and sensibilities.
- First world-wide release
- A collection of works in a rarely explored musical genre
- Music inspired by some of the most iconic paintings of all times
- A major new work for organ superbly realized by Friedhelm Flamme,
one of Germany's most prominent organists
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