Five Songs (Kafka’s Sirens)

Année de composition
17 minutes
Ensemble and electronics : clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, accordion, percussion, mandolin, guitar, harp, cello and double bass

The brackets in the title of the piece allude – but it is not a literal reference – to Frank Kafka’s story “The Silence of the Mermaids”. In reality Kafka’s story is not so much about telling an alternative story (which would say that the sirens did not sing) as about suggesting a paradox, implying a doubt of perspective. It is rather to this – to a possible paradoxical perspective – that the title alludes. It is a form articulated in five instrumental “songs”. What is left of singing, and of vocal conduct and expression, when no one sings; this is the paradox that is explored.

Formally, I continue the work on articulation in moments that are not “movements”: an elliptical but unitary form that brings into play memory and expectations to create permanence through discontinuity.


Fransesca Verunelli


Création mondiale
April 21th, 2016, Miller Theatre, New York, by the ICE Ensemble

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