— May 2024

Opus : 14 / Type d'œuvre : Pour voix seule(s)

Under the unequivocal title of Psalm, Paul Celan wrote a text that reverses the usual tone of the genre, addressing a being he calls “Niemand”, a god who would be nobody, thus expressing the feeling of abandonment of his people during Shoah. However, his gesture raises questions, since in this famous text there is a sort of invocation of nothingness. The translator Martine Broda suggests a striking parallel with Psalm 103(102) of the Bible. I have used this commentary to develop a polyphony in which part of the choir recites this psalm in a low voice, in a mechanical way, like a community that has become indifferent to its surroundings, while Celan’s psalm, sung in full voice by the rest of the choir, sounds like a desperate appeal.

First part of the Über dem Dorn triptych.

Recording, extract: CD ‘Psalm’, September 2004, Naïve V 4999, & Label Inconnu. Jeune chœur et Cris de Paris conducted by Laurence Equilbey and Geoffroy Jourdain.

Difficulty rating: difficult

Poem in German by Paul Celan and an extract from a biblical psalm

German, Latin

A cappella mixed choir

Duration: approx. 5 minutes

Together with the two pieces from opus 22, Nächtlich geschürzt and Auge der Zeit, Psalm forms a triptych entitled Über dem Dorn.

Extraits audio

  • Psalm
    CD « Psalm », septembre 2004, Naïve V 4999, & Label Inconnu
Editeur : Editions Musicales du Tremble -