Année de composition
8 minutes
Solo bassoon and vocal ensemble of 6 to 12 female voices

A long and fascinating collaboration with Pascal Gallois has led me to write a large number of works for the bassoon (solo pieces, chamber music pieces). The research that Pascal Gallois has been carrying out for several years concerns the hitherto little-exploited possibilities of his instrument (multiphonic sounds, tremolos, etc…), but also timbre and color. With him, the bassoon sometimes approaches the human voice (and my piece Niggun, for solo bassoon, uses the instrument in this register, almost vocal). For several years now, we have been talking about the idea of uniting the bassoon with a small choir. The Festival Musique en Chinonais and the Mikrokosmos Ensemble offer us today the opportunity to realize this project.


The text I have chosen is a short poem by Goethe, Wandrers Nachtlied. It has often been set to music in the past, by Schubert and Schumann, among others. What is striking,” wrote one of its translators, Jean Tardieu, “is that, in a language as rich as German in very sonorous consonants, it is the melody of its vowels that dominates, with a simplicity and economy of means that make it an inspired song, or rather a lament – but a quiet and resigned lament, in which death (without the word being pronounced) is nevertheless present. Not in its horror, but on the contrary as a natural fact, a biological necessity. A plant that withers and falls…”


Philippe Hersant




Wandrers Nachtlied


Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.


Night song of the traveller


On all the peaks
At the top of the trees
You will catch
A faint breath.
In the wood the birds are silent.
You wait! Soon
You too will
Will rest.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Création mondiale
October 3rd, 1998 | Festival Musiques d’Automne en Chinonais | Collégiale de Saint-Martinde Candes, Candes-Saint-Martin, France
On a poem by Goethe: Wandrers Nachtlied II

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