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Jexper Holmen Berenice (2007) Monodrama (chamber opera) on the novella by Edgar Allen Poe for soprano solo, guitar, percussion, live-electronics & stage lighting Dur. 80’

Dedicated to Voz Nueva

SCORE


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Jexper Holmen Berenice (2007) Monodrama (chamber opera) on the novella by Edgar Allen Poe for soprano solo, guitar, percussion, live-electronics & stage lighting Dur. 80’

NOTES

NOTER

Libretto: Jexper Holmen after Edgar Allan Poe’s novella Berenice 

Libretto: Jexper Holmen efter Edgar Allan Poes novelle Berenice

Synopsis A man by the name of Egaeus tells of the unusual psychic disease which causes him to be manically obsessed with unimportant objects and concepts. Furthermore he tells of his relation to his cousin Berenice, who has always loved him. When Berenice begins to languish as the result of a mysterious sickness, he becomes erotically interested in her for the first time and proposes to her. A few days prior to the wedding he becomes manically obsessed with her teeth. Since she shortly thereafter dies and is buried he opens the grave and pulls out her teeth, only to discover that she is in fact still alive. 

Synopsis En mand ved navn Egæus beretter om sin mærkelige psykiske lidelse, der gør ham manisk optaget af ligegyldige genstande og begreber. Desuden fortæller han om sit forhold til kusinen Berenice, der altid har elsket ham. Da Berenice begynder at hensygne på grund af en mystisk sygdom, bliver han for første gang erotisk interesseret i hende og frier til hende. Et par dage inden brylluppet bliver han manisk optaget af hendes tænder. Da hun kort derefter tilsyneladende dør og begraves, åbner han graven og trækker hendes tænder ud, skønt hun viser sig stadig at være i live.

Description In keeping with Edgar Allan Poe’s novella, which is the literary point of departure for this monodrama, all action takes place in the mind of the narrator. There is no apparent outer action, only unclear and internally contradictory witness accounts from a person who, on their own account, suffers from pathologically distorted perceptions of reality and frequent blackouts; having, for example, no memory of the dramatic climax of the plot. With such a narrator as the only witness it is strictly speaking impossible to know what is taking place even though it is clear that it is something really atrocious.

Beskrivelse Helt tro mod Edgar Allan Poes novelle, der er dette monodramas litterære forlæg, foregår alt inde i hovedet på fortælleren. Der er ingen synlig ydre handling, men kun uklare og indbyrdes modstridende vidnesbyrd fra et menneske, der efter eget udsagn dels lider af en sygeligt forvrænget virkelighedsopfattelse og dels får hyppige blackouts og for eksempel intet husker om handlingens dramatiske højdepunkt. Med sådan en fortæller som det eneste vidne er det strengt taget umuligt at vide, hvad der foregår, selv om det står ret klart, at der er tale om virkeligt modbydelige ting.

The music is also completely built on this premiss: the soundpicture is vague and stretched out, without exact pitches. The text consists of often unintelligible fragments of Poe’s text, which is furthermore sung by a electronically distorted soprano. The dramatic action of the plot shifts between moving extremely slowly and not at all. That the male narrator’s account is executed by a female voice also indicates that it is the buried cousin’s distant suffering we are witness to. 

Musikken går helt ind på denne præmis: Lydbilledet er tåget og udtværet, uden eksakte tonehøjder. Teksten består af ofte uforståelige brudstykker af Poes tekst, der oven i købet bliver sunget af en elektronisk forvrænget sopran. Forløbets dramatik veksler mellem at bevæge sig ekstremt langsomt og ikke at bevæge sig. At den mandlige fortællers beretning udføres af en kvindestemme, antyder samtidig, at det er den begravede kusines fjerne jamren, vi er vidne til.

I suggest a staging which in a similar way focusses on the slow, dark, unclear and sleep-like aspects. Not scenic action in the traditional sense but rather a kind of resonant space for both text and music. 

Jeg foreslår en iscenesættelse, der på samme måde fokuserer på det dunkle, uklare og søvngængeragtigt langsomme. Ikke en scenisk handling i traditionel forstand, men en slags resonansrum for teksten og musikken.


PERFORMANCE NOTES

OPFØRELSESNOTER

General: The piece’s character should be calm and flowing

Generelt: Stykkets karakter skal være rolig og flydende

All metronome markings are suggestions. The score and parts are written in such a way that the notes are placed more closely together when the tempo is faster so that one can use the graphic appearance as an indicator. Most of the tempo changes are set up in such a way that the guitar and percussion simply can follow the soprano’s new tempo.

Alle metronomtal er vejledende. Partituret og stemmerne er skrevet, så noderne står tættere, jo højere tempoet er, sådan at man kan bruge det grafiske billede som pejlemærke. Ved de fleste temposkift er det lagt sådan til rette, at guitar og slagtøj bare kan følge sopranens nye tempo.

The fermatas have different durations (from 5 seconds to 5 minutes). The duration is indicated over the fermata. Should one be required to hold a tone under a fermata it will be notated as a filled out, square note. If one has a rest under a fermata it is notated with “tacet”. Soprano: There are no set pitches for the voice. It is rather notated in 5 different registers: - extremely high: first help-line over the staff - moderately high: top space of the staff - medium register: middle line of the system - moderately low: lowest space of the staff - extremely low: first help-line below the staff

Fermaterne har forskellig varighed (fra 5 sekunder til 5 minutter). Varigheden er noteret over fermaten. Hvis man skal holde tonen under fermaten, er det noteret med en udfyldt, firkantet node. Hvis ikke man skal holde pause under fermaten, er det noteret med et “tacet”. Sopran: Der er ingen faste tonehøjder i stemmen. I stedet er det noteret i 5 forskellige registre: - ekstremt højt: første bilinie over systemet - moderat højt: øverste mellemrum i systemet - mellemregister: midterste linie i systemet - moderat dybt: nederste mellemrum i systemet - ekstremt dybt: første bilinie under systemet

A note on the help line simply indicates a (random) note in a very high register, a note in the top space indicates a note (any) in a moderately high register etc. Glissandi between the various registers also occur. Intervals are generally not important but try to avoid octaves when shifting registers - dissonant intervals work best, although it is otherwise no catastrophe.

En node på bilinien over systemet betyder en tilfældig tone i meget højt leje, en node i systemets øverste mellemrum betyder en tilfældig tone i moderat højt leje, og så fremdeles. Der forekommer også glissandi mellem de forskellige registre. Intervaller er generelt ikke vigtige, men prøv at undgå oktavspring ved registerskift – det er bedst med dissonerende intervaller i i stedet. Og ellers er det ingen katastrofe.

Sing without vibrato. The text consists of fragments of Edgar Allen Poe’s novella Berenice. Since words are often cut in the middle they will not always be completely understandable but pronunciation should nevertheless simply be that of ordinary English.

Syng uden vibrato. Teksten består af fragmenter af Edgar Allan Poes novelle Berenice. Da ordene ofte er klippet midt over, er det ikke altid helt forståeligt, men udtalen skal bare følge almindelig engelsk udtale.

Guitar: The guitar plays with bow and slide throughout the piece. Only six voice chords are played. The instrument can either be held normally or vertically according to what is most comfortable. The strings should never be dampened.

Guitar: Guitaren spiller med bue og slide hele stykket igennem. Der spilles udelukkende seksstemmige akkorder. Instrumentet kan enten holdes normalt eller lægges vandret ned, alt efter hvad der er nemmest. Strengene skal aldrig dæmpes.

The strings should be tuned in fourths. From the bottom up:

Strengene skal stemmes i kvarter. Nedefra og op:

D#-G#-C#-F#-B-E

D#-G#-C#-F#-H-E

There are no set pitches for the part. It is rather notated in 5 different registers:

Der er ingen faste tonehøjder i stemmen. I stedet er det noteret i 5 forskellige registre:

- extremely high: first help-line over the staff - moderately high: top space of the staff - medium register: middle line of the system - moderately low: lowest space of the staff - extremely low: first help-line below the staff

- ekstremt højt: første bilinie over systemet - moderat højt: øverste mellemrum i systemet - mellemregister: midterste linie i systemet - moderat dybt: nederste mellemrum i systemet - ekstremt dybt: første bilinie under systemet

A note on the help-line simply indicates a chord in a very high register, a note in the top space indicates a chord (any) in a moderately high register etc. Glissandi between the various registers also occur. Furthermore the angle of the slide on the fretboard is also notated. There are 5 different angles:

En node på bilinien over systemet betyder en akkord i meget højt leje, en node i systemets øverste mellemrum betyder en akkord i moderat højt leje, og så fremdeles. Der forekommer også glissandi mellem de forskellige registre. Desuden er slide’ens vinkel på gribebrættet også noteret. Der er 5 forskellige vinkler:

- EN (extremely narrow): the slide is held at such an angle that a chord is produced which consists of intervals smaller than a fourth. - N (narrow): the slide is held at such an angle that a chord is produced which consists of intervals slightly smaller than a fourth. - A (average): the slide is held at a right angle to the fretboard so that a stack of fourths is produced.

- EN (extremely narrow): slide’en holdes så skråt som muligt på den led, der resulterer i en akkord, der består af mindre intervaller end kvarter. - N (narrow): slide’en holdes en smule skråt på den led, der resulterer i en akkord, der består af lidt mindre intervaller end kvarter. - A (average): slide’en holdes vinkelret på gribebrættet, resulterende i en kvartstabel.


- W (wide): the slide is held at such an angle that a chord is produced which consists of intervals slightly larger than a fourth. - EW: (extremely wide): the slide is held at such an angle that a chord is produced which consists of intervals larger than a fourth.

- W (wide): slide’en holdes en smule skråt på den led, der resulterer i en akkord, der består af lidt større intervaller end kvarter. - EW: (extremely wide): slide’en holdes så skråt som muligt på den led, der resulterer i en akkord, der består af større intervaller end kvarter.

The angles are notated over the staff system with bold letters in square boxes.

Vinklerne er noteret over nodesystemet med fede bogstaver i firkantede kasser.

Percussion: Five cymbals and a bow are required. The cymbals are each notated on a staff-line: The lightest sounding on the top line, the next lightest on the next to top line etc.

Slagtøj: Der skal bruges 5 bækkener og en bue. Bækkenerne er noteret på hver sin nodelinie: det lysest klingende bækken på øverste linie, det næstlyseste på næstøverste linie og så fremdeles.

The cymbals are played with a bow throughout the piece. In the score each stroke is simply notated with a point which marks its ending. The stroke should begin as long before the point as possible. The cymbals should never be dampened but simply be allowed to sound out.

Bækkenerne spilles med bue hele stykket igennem. I partituret er hvert strøg blot noteret med en prik, der markerer strøgets afslutning. Strøget skal begynde så længe før prikken, som muligt. Bækkenerne skal aldrig dæmpes, men bare have lov til at klinge ud.

In the part it is notated where on the cymbal the finger should be placed in order to bring out various overtones.

I stemmen er noteret, hvor på bækkenet fingeren skal placeres for at fremhæve forskellige overtoner.

C (center): the finger is placed at the center of the cymbal. M (medium): the finger is placed midway between the center of the cymbal and its edge. E (edge): the finger is placed close to the edge of the cymbal.

C (center): fingeren placeres tæt ved bækkenets centrum. M (medium): fingeren placeres midt imellem bækkenets centrum og dets kant. E (edge): fingeren placeres tæt ved bækkenets kant.

In many sections there are gradual movements between the various positions. They are notated with an arrow, e.g. C -> E means that in the section indicated the position of the finger is gradually changed from C-position to E-position. Should there be a movement spanning a number of thoughts, the destination is notated in parentheses after the arrow. E.g.

I mange afsnit forekommer der gradvise bevægelser mellem de forskellige positioner. Det er noteret med en pile. C –> E betyder f. eks. at i det pågældende afsnit skal fingerens position gradvist ændres fra C-position til E-position. Hvis der er tale om en bevægelse over et længere antal tanker, er “destinationen” noteret i en parantes efter pilen. Eksempel:

C –>(E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -> E

C –>(E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -> E

indicates a long, gradual change from the center position to the edge position.

betyder: lang, gradvis ændring fra centerposition til kantposition.


Electronics: The guitar and cymbals should be amplified. The soprano voice should be amplified and treated with a harmonizer which adds 4 tones. See list that follows.

Elektronik: Guitaren og bækkenerne skal forstærkes. Sopranen skal forstærkes og køres gennem en harmonizer, der tilføjer 4 toner. Se bilag.

Sound indications: All three musicians should be amplified. Furthermore the soprano should be run through a harmonizer which adds four tones: two in the left channel and two in the right. These tones should be altered every 3 minutes. In total the harmonizer goes through 24 different settings each lasting 3 minutes.

Klangregianvisninger: Alle tre musikere skal forstærkes. Derudover skal sopranen køres igennem en harmonizer, der tilføjer fire toner: to i højre kanal og to i venstre kanal. Disse toner skal ændres hvert 3. minut. Ialt gennemgår harmonizeren 24 forskellige indstillinger af hver 3 minutters varighed:

1: R: -5.5 & -6.5 L: -0.5 & -10.5 2: R: +6.0 & +0.5 L: +11.5 & +5.5 3: R: -6.0 & +6.5 L: +10.5 & -1.0 4: R: -11.0 & -1.0 L: +11.5 & +0.5 5: R: +1.5 & -11.5 L: -1.5 & -5.5 6: R: -0.5 & +6.5 L: -11-5 & -6.0 7: R: -1.0 & + 6.5 L: +6.0 & -11.0 8: R: -6.0 & + 1.5 L: +11.5 & -5.5 9: R: -6.5 & -11.5 L: -1.5 & -6.0 10: R: +1.5 & +11.0 L: -5.5 & +0.5 11: R: -5.5 & +11.0 L: +0.5 & -10.5 12: R: -10.5 & +6.0 L: +6.5 & +5.5 13: R: -5.5 & +11.5 L: -6.5 & -5.5 14: R: +6.5 & -5.5 L: +5.5 & -0.5 15: R: +6.0 & -6.5 L: +0.5 & -1.5 16: R: +11.5 & -1.5 L: -11.0 & -5.5 17: R: -1.0 & +1.0 L: -10.5 & -1.5 18: R: -0.5 & +6.0 L: -1.0 & -5.5 19: R: +6.0 & -10.5 L: -6.5 & +10.5 20: R: -11.5 & -6.5 L: + 6.5 & -11.0 21: R: -1.0 & +1.5 L: -5.5 & -0.5 22: R: +6.0 & +1.0 L: -1.0 & -0.5 23: R: +5.5 & -1.0 L: -1.5 -0.5 24: R: -10.5 & +5.5 L: +10.5 & -11.0

1: R: -5.5 & -6.5 L: -0.5 & -10.5 2: R: +6.0 & +0.5 L: +11.5 & +5.5 3: R: -6.0 & +6.5 L: +10.5 & -1.0 4: R: -11.0 & -1.0 L: +11.5 & +0.5 5: R: +1.5 & -11.5 L: -1.5 & -5.5 6: R: -0.5 & +6.5 L: -11-5 & -6.0 7: R: -1.0 & + 6.5 L: +6.0 & -11.0 8: R: -6.0 & + 1.5 L: +11.5 & -5.5 9: R: -6.5 & -11.5 L: -1.5 & -6.0 10: R: +1.5 & +11.0 L: -5.5 & +0.5 11: R: -5.5 & +11.0 L: +0.5 & -10.5 12: R: -10.5 & +6.0 L: +6.5 & +5.5 13: R: -5.5 & +11.5 L: -6.5 & -5.5 14: R: +6.5 & -5.5 L: +5.5 & -0.5 15: R: +6.0 & -6.5 L: +0.5 & -1.5 16: R: +11.5 & -1.5 L: -11.0 & -5.5 17: R: -1.0 & +1.0 L: -10.5 & -1.5 18: R: -0.5 & +6.0 L: -1.0 & -5.5 19: R: +6.0 & -10.5 L: -6.5 & +10.5 20: R: -11.5 & -6.5 L: + 6.5 & -11.0 21: R: -1.0 & +1.5 L: -5.5 & -0.5 22: R: +6.0 & +1.0 L: -1.0 & -0.5 23: R: +5.5 & -1.0 L: -1.5 -0.5 24: R: -10.5 & +5.5 L: +10.5 & -11.0

Example 1 (setting 1):

Eksempel 1 (indstilling 1):

in:

out:

in:

ind:

ud:

Eksempel 2 (indstilling 2):

Example 2 (setting 2):

out:

ind:

ud:



Berenice