Three albums present the recording art created especially for the sound and film installation »Poem of a Cell« by Stefan Winter. On Volume 1 (CD 910 250-2) Uri Caines settings from "The Song of Songs" from the Tanach can be heard among other works. The so daring, erotic and uncompromising love poems of the Christian mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg from the 13th century are in the center of Volume 2. Fabio Nieder sets to music fragments from "The Flowing Light of The Godhead". The unusual, creative, inspiring voices of Exaudi under the direction of James Weeks become one with sounds and beatings on anvil, plate bells, tubular bells, Tam-Tams, Thai gongs and vibes, played by Schlagquartett Köln (Thomas Meixner, Boris Müller, Dirk Rothbrust, Achim Seyler), "I always had to be in great fears, and with all my youth, I fiercely beat my body; These were: sighing, crying, confessing, fasting, guards, mallets and everlasting adoration." (Quotation from Mechthild of Magdeburg, The Flowing Light of The Godhead: Einsiedeln, Zurich, Cologne: Benzinger).
As a reminiscence of »Poém électronique«, bells open the album and lead to the breathing of Alan Bern's accordion in connection with a prologue by Mechthild von Magdeburg, spoken by Fanny Winter:
The longer she is dead, the more joyful she lives
The more joyful she lives, the more she discovers
The weaker she grows, the more she gains
The more she fears for herself, …
The more she accumulates riches, the poorer she becomes
The simpler she lives, the further she comes
The more powerful she is, …
The deeper her wounds, the stronger she charges
The more God’s love is in her, the higher she soars
The more beautifully she shines as she reflects the divine, the closer she approaches him
The more she works, the more peacefully she rests
The more she comprehends, …
The more she falls silent, the louder her cry
…, the more splendid the miracles she works with his power as she may accomplish
The more consuming his lust, the more magnificent their wedding
The narrower their bed of love, the more intimate their embrace
The sweeter the taste of their kisses, the more loving their glances
The stronger the bitterness of their separation, the more he grants her
The more she consumes, the more she possesses
The humbler her farewell, the sooner she returns
The more fiery she remains, the sooner her flame will burst forth
The more she remains fervent, the more beautifully she shines
The more God’s praises are sung, the greater her desire.
Mozart's "Introitus" from his Requiem - performed by the ensemble Forma Antiqva from Spain under the direction of Aarón Zapico and the Kettwiger Bach-Ensemble under the direction of Wolfgang Kläsener - leads the way in Fabio Nieders contemporary adaptation of the Lacrimosa. Sounds from five centuries seamlessly merge and form a whole new whole. The focus of the album is Fabio Nieder’s setting of poems by Mechthild of Magdeburg. Everything revolves around the desire to achieve union with the divine.
A Jewish wedding march, played by Alan Bern, sounds with the poem »You are my mirror mountain spoken by Fanny Winter:
You are my mirror mountain,
a feast for mine eyes,
loss of myself, tempest in my heart,
before you my strength surrenders and vanishes,
you are my most elevated certainty!
The same poem by Mechthild of Magdeburg interprets Exaudi in a confusion of voices and leads in Carlo Gesulado’s "Se la mia morte brami" ("If you desire my death"). Exaudi impressively demonstrates not only to be an outstanding vocal ensemble in contemporary classical music, but also to stage Renaissance music in an exciting and unmistakable interpretation. The boundaries between the centuries merge. Time seems to have lost its chronological order, past and present exist together. The avant-garde voices of Carlo Gesualdo have lost nothing of their effect over the centuries and still speak to us today with impetuous force, just as Fabio Nieder’s setting of Mechthild of Magdeburg's poems reveals sounds that deeply touches the inside.
The extraordinary musician Marco Blaauw on the trumpet, Dirk Rothbrust, percussion instruments interpret together with the composer and pianist Fabio Nieder the work “Der B-Dur/Moll Kreis des Lichtes und des Lebens" (“The B-Major/Minor Circle of Light and Life“), another commissioned composition by Winter & Winter for "Poem of a Cell".
An epilogue about love, ecstasy and the divine union of Mechthild von Magdeburg closes this album:
You are my softest pillow, my loveliest bedstead,
my most secret silence, my profoundest desire, my highest honour!
You are my god’s pleasure, consolation to my humanity, cool stream to my fieriness!
You are the fire of love for my desire, the sweetest cool touch in my bosom,
an intimate kiss from my mouth, you are the joy of my discovery!
I am in you, and you are in me, as closely entwined as we can be,
since our two selves come streaming into one and form a new whole.
And thus forever remain undaunted.
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