2003 PAS CREVER for soprano, vln. vcl. fl. bclar. vibr. & pf

PAS CREVER (2003) for soprano and small ensemble is based on two French poems by Boris Vian (1920-1959). The title is from the first line in his poem “Je voudrais pas crever”. His poetry is a mixture of the serious and the melancholic, the tragic and the comical, with certain characteristics of vaudeville. I tried to catch some of these qualities in the music I wrote, as a welcome distraction after completing a complex and large scale work for choir & orchestra, Hymn to Ra. Vian himself was no stranger to song and recorded several of his own lyrics in the typical French cabaret style of his day, full of jazzy overtones. I am personally not terribly well groomed in the genre, which is why my music probably qualifies as a hybrid of the popular and my own, more complex language.

Pas Crever was commissioned by Ensemble’88 and received its first performance in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow in May 2004. Its first performance in the Netherlands took place in Tilburg in September of that year. It has since been adopted by the ASKO Ensemble who gave a performance in Amsterdam in september 2005 with Manon Heijne soprano.

Since both ensembles were interested in an intermezzo to give the soprano some breathing space and the musicians more substance, I wrote an third song (“je veux une vie”) in October 2005 to be included in future performances.