Der Februar

In the midst of a severe winter storm, with windy gusts and snow pelting the windows, I finished setting Erich Kastner’s poem, Der Februar, for soprano and viola d’amore. The weather was fitting, as I set music to “Und es schneit, und taut, und schneit.”

The connectivity of the internet never ceases to amaze me, as the request to write this music came from a viola d’amore player in Germany, Gertrud Schmidt. I haven’t found her on Facebook or LinkedIn, so I’m not sure how she found out about my music – but however, all good. She, along with soprano Berenike Langmaack, will be performing my 5 Rilke Songs along with this new work.

Reading about the poet, Erich Kastner, who I hadn’t heard of previously, was fascinating. He was drafted into the German army during WW I, and his experiences there made him a life-long pacifist – a point of view that was, to say the least, little appreciated after the Nazis came into power. Despite being interrogated on several occasions by the Gestapo, he survived their regime, all the while writing poems and stories for children. Der Februar is part of a series, so maybe this first song will lead to more…