Music Musicology Poetry Gallery

Des Menschen Seele (Man's Soul)
for mixed choir a cappella
Needham Series
1987, 11:06 min.


Man's soul is like Water.
From the Heavens it cometh,
To the Heavens it riseth,
And to Earth it must return,
In constant fluctuation.
J.W. von Goethe

Des Menschen Seele is a Requiem. I conceived of it as a celebration of life. As most of my compositions, the work is based on an algorithmic base score interpreted for voices by the composer.

Each of the five movements of the work concentrates upon a single line (idea) of the short text, except for the first movement which states the text in full. I wanted to capture the manifold movement alluded to in Goethe's poem, using free and strict modes of contrapuntal writing.

Although the work's first performance was by medium-sized choir, I can imagine the work sung by just four voices.