From a Book of Hours

for Soprano and Orchestra

James Primosch

Performing Ensemble: Voice and Orchestra
Text: Texts from "Das Stundenbuch" by Rainer Maria Rilke.
Duration: 00:18:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

This cycle of orchestral songs sets four poems from an early collection by Rilke entitled "Das Stundenbuch," or in English, "Book of Hours." Although the title refers to a medieval book of prayers for the various times of day and seasons of the liturgical year, Rilke's texts occupy a position some distance from conventional piety. There is a melancholy to the spirituality expressed here, which speaks of an experience of God that is fragmentary, imperfect, and unattainable. The solitude evoked in the second song (as layers of busy activity are gradually peeled away) offers some solace, but the third song is very dark and fierce, filled with a desperate, even manic desire for God. The last song returns to the mood of the first, but now in a global rather than individual context. This song, like the set as a whole, speaks of our world's brokenness, yet strives to stammer fragments of God's name.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Composition Date 2001
Orchestration Solo Sop.; 3(dbl. Alto Fl./Picc.) 3(dbl. E.H.) 3(dbl. B.Cl.) 3 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Cel.(Pno.) Hp. Str.
Premiere January 10, 11, 12, 2002. Lisa Saffer, Soprano, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

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