THE AFTER-IMAGE – étude d'un prélude XII


for mezzo-soprano and bass, with clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano

dedicated to Ewa Julia Beaudoin

duration: ca. 20 minutes

The twelve works in the Études d'un prélude series are all based on micromeasurements of timing and volume of Martha Argerich's recording of Chopin’s Prelude op. 28/4 in E minor, recorded in Munich on 22-25 October 1975 and released by Deutsche Grammophon as DG 2530 731, reissued as DG 415 836-2. The duration of Argerich’s original recording is 1'51".

A commission from Boston Lyric Opera [BLO] for a chamber opera to be paired with Victor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis. BLO commissioned the work so that companies could more readily produce Ullmann’s short one-act opera — composed in the Terezín concentration camp in 1943 — with a fitting companion piece. The After-Image is based on texts by two poets, Rainer Maria Rilke and Friedrich Rückert, and William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the pioneers of photography. The After-Image records a moment of interaction between a woman (The Daughter and The Photograph of the Father). The instrumentation — clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano — was chosen to match that of Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps [1941].

See more about microtiming & composition

Cast of the 2011 BLO Production:

Jamie Van Eyck (The Daughter)
Kevin Burdette (The Photograph of the Father)
directed by David Schweizer