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Hans Werner Henze

Publisher: Chester Music

Opfergang (Immolazione) (2009)
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Text Writer
Franz Werfel
Chester Music Ltd
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
45 Minutes
Tenor, Bass, Baritone, quartet of men's voices (TTBB)
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Programme Note
Hans Werner Henze Opfergang (Immolazione) (2009)
At the edge of a city, at midnight, a stray dog from what was evidently a
good home encounters a distraught man on the run. It emerges from the
latter’s monologues that he has survived a difficult and humiliating period
that is none the less shrouded in obscurity. He suffers unspeakably, and
everything he says tells of bitterness, loneliness and distress. But we never
discover the actual reasons for his pain, only that those reasons still exist.
Pursued by a posse of policemen, the stranger kills the little dog in
his distress and panic. A murderer, he now sinks appreciably from one
qualitative level to another. On the one hand, the music ascends (for the
ascension of our little dog), while on the other it descends into the
unfathomable depths of the stranger’s soul.

Franz Werfel makes it possible for his reader (and also for me, the
composer) to read his poem on various levels. I have wanted to set his
‘dramatic poem’ The Sacrifice to music since the early fifties. This dream
has now come true thanks to a commission from the Orchestra
dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

© Hans Werner Henze

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