26/08/1996 - Festival International de Musique de Lucerne, Suisse - Anne Bennent (act) - Ensemble Modern de Francfort
Within Michael Jarrell's oeuvre, Cassandre represents the culmination and synthesis of an initial and extremely fruitful creative period, even if the selection of the work's text was "dictated" to him by Christa Wolf in both musical and expressive aspects. The figure of the Trojan priestess, reinterpreted by the German author, is torn back and forth between images of the past and of impending catastrophe. Neither Wolf nor Jarrell himself means to plunge us into the midst of the Trojan War: Cassandra speaks merely of her memory of the events. At the piece's beginning, the worst has already occurred. The tope of lamentation - and of revolt - is based not so much on a utopia of change or an attempt at a breakthrough, but much rather engulfed by a sort of twilight. In a tiny space bordering on nothingness, as well as in the lightning-like certainty that precedes death, time deepens, closes and returns in loops: in the intensity of emotions, the past becomes present. The various moments of the drama are not offered up in a causal chain, adhering to some realistic principle, but rather follow one another without transition, attracting and sounding into one another, in a stream of consciousness that reveals the essential. The inner monologue represents both an attempt at clarification and the admission of failure, a marriage of clear realisation and melancholy. The whole work, according to the composer, is one "long coda".
1 CD Kairos, KAI0012912
Cassandre (French version)
Astrid Bas (actress)
Susanna Mälkki (conductor)
Born in Geneva in 1958, Michael Jarrell studied composition at the Geneva Conservatory with Eric Gaudibert and at various workshops in the United States (Tanglewood, 1979). He completed his training with Klaus Huber at the Freiburg Staatliche Hochschule für Musik im Brisgau. [...]