two versions: for voice and piano, and for voice, flute, clarinet, percussion, violin and violoncello
the songs are dedicated to Michael Finnissy, Lewis Spratlan, Christian Bök, Jean Genet and Christoph Willibald Gluck, respectively.
duration: ca. 14 minutes
‘Eunoia’ is the shortest word in English to contain all five vowels, and the word means ‘beautiful thinking’. Christian Bök’s Eunoia, seven years in the making, is a univocal lipogram, a book of poems in which each chapter restricts itself to the use of a single vowel. Moreover, the text attempts to exhaust the lexicon of each vowel, citing at least 98% of the available repertoire. Subsidiary rules abound, such as the complete suppression of the letter Y. Finally, each chapter must contain a poem which alludes to the art of writing, a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau, and a nautical voyage.
The five Eunoia Songs employ one poem from each vowel chapter to represent each of Bök’s five allusions. As a result they represent a kind of cross-section of the work as a whole. The Eunoia Songs also abide by subsidiary rules; most prominently the restricted use of pitch in the vocal line, where the five ‘black-notes’ are treated like musical vowels. Just as each poem restricts itself to one vowel, each song restricts itself to only one note outside of the ‘white-note’ set in the voice. The E poem uses only f#, the A poem only g#, the O poem only a#, the E poem only c# and the U poem only d#.