For large versatile ensemble (20 players).
Commissioned by Acht Brücken - Musik in Köln and Deutscher Musikrat.
Performed by the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, conducted by Rüdiger Bohn.
Live-recording of the world premiere at Warsaw Autumn Festival 2021 on Sept 24th 2021, at Frederic Chopin University of Music. Sound engineers: Jacek Guzowski & Krzysztof Kuraszkiewicz, MUSICON
✶ ✶ ✶
By the sea, by the dreary, night-colored sea,
A young man stands;
His heart full of anguish, his head full of doubts,
And with pale lips he questions the billows:
(Heinrich Heine, Questions, from: Book of Songs, North Sea, Second Cycle, 1826)
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me
(Gus Kahn, Dream a little dream of me)
… now it has happened. Nothing more. Just this, and in this way—now it has happened. If I should try to explain it, it means that that happening which gave rise to my cry has only now, with the rejoinder, really and undoubtedly happened.
(Original Remembrance, from: Dialogue, 1929, Martin Buber)
The two Voyager spacecraft are bound for the stars. Affixed to each is a gold-plated copper phonograph record with a cartridge and stylus and, on the aluminum record jacket, instructions for use. We sent something about our genes, something about our brains, and something about our libraries to other beings who might sail the sea of interstellar space. But we didn’t want to send primarily scientific information. […] Instead we wanted to tell those other beings something about what seems unique about ourselves.
(Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980)
“Oh solve me the riddle of Life,
The torturing, deathless riddle
Which has cracked so many heads, […]
Poor, perspiring heads of people—
Tell me, what is Man? And what's his meaning?
Where does he come from? Where is he going?
Who dwells up there among the golden stars?”
Say "Night-ie night" and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me
But now something happened with me. As though I had till now had no other access from the world to sensation save that of the ear and now discovered myself as a being simply equipped with senses, both those clothed in the bodily organs and the naked senses, so I exposed myself to the distance, open to all sensation and perception.
Although the recipients may not know any languages of the Earth, we included greetings in sixty human tongues, as well as the helos of the humpback whales. We sent photographs of humans from all over the world caring for one another, learning, fabricating tools and art and responding to challenges. There is an hour and a half of exquisite music from many cultures, some of it expressing our sense of cosmic loneliness, our wish to end our isolation, our longing to make contact with other beings in the Cosmos.
Stars fading, but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I'm longing to linger till dawn, dear
Just saying this
The billows are whispering their eternal whispers.
The wind blows on, the clouds go sailing;
The stars keep twinkling, indifferent and cold.
And a fool waits for his answer.
[…] But the Voyager record is on its way out of the solar system. The erosion in interstellar space – chiefly cosmic rays and impacting dust grains—is so slow that the information on the record will last a billion years. Genes and brains and books encode information differently and persist thorugh time at different rates. But the persistence of the memory of the human species will be far longer in the impressed metal grooves on the Voyager interstellar record.
And then, not from a distance but from the air round about me, noiselessly, came the answer. Really it did not come; it was there.
It had been there—so I may explain it—even before my cry: there it was, and now, when I laid myself open to it,
it let itself be received by me.