for vocal sextet
Premiered by Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart on October 5th, 2018, at Festival Musica, Strasbourg.
The texts in this piece are taken from two sources: 1) a medieval Middle English alchemical poem of anonymous origin titled “Verses upon the Elixir” (ca. mid-fifteenth century); 2) the poem “Hell’s Wisdom” (1923-27) by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. In “Verses…”, an exalted landscape of disparate alchemical matters collide to form a singularity; and in Freytag-Loringhoven’s poem, themes of inner turmoil, religion, and the cosmos culminate into an abstract logic. Both of these texts were chosen for their exploration of multiplicity and unity, and for their oscillation between the immaterial and the concrete, where the palettes of excess are distilled into a simple, elementary, sum.