HEAR: Drama

Saturday April 2, 2011 
8:00 pm

Location: Bellefield Auditorium (directions)
Price Range: $10 students/seniors; $15 general admission

University of Pittsburgh Graduate Student Composer 

Audience Choice Winner


GRACIE SUTHERLAND  Overture to a Zombie Apocalypse
I. Nefarious Research in a Secret Scientific Facility
II. Containment Breach! (There Goes the Neighborhood)
III. Something Like a Brisk Walk Away from Zombies


Part I; “Leitchen” Part II; “Schlendrian”

Prologue No 7  Recitative

No 1  Recitative No 8  Aria

No 2  Aria No 9  Recitative

No 3  Recitative No 10  Aria

No 4  Aria No 11  Recitative

No 5  Recitative No 12 Aria

No 6  Aria and Coda Finale

HEAR: Drama

Tonight's program invites us to contemplate the farthest reaches of the cosmos, the innermost workings of the human mind, and apocalyptic zombies, with plenty of drama to go around. We begin with three premieres, all written specifically for IonSound. At the time of this writing, the winner of the Student Composer Audience Choice Prize has yet to be determined; at the time of this concert it will have been first heard four days ago, and tonight you will hear its second performance. Christian Kriegeskotte's Triangulum unfolds its machinery according to the inescapable dictates of its own taut inner gravity; a composition need not be representational to be dramatic. Gracie Sutherland warns us to beware impending doom in her ghoulishly humorous Overture to a Zombie Apocalypse; the skeleton structure (pun intended) of a dramatic sequence of events fleshed out in musical terms. Finally, we come to Nathan Currier's A Kafka Cantata, and our three premieres are logically united; the efforts of the bright young composer pursuing an advanced degree, the awesome mechanics of a distant constellation, and the phantasmagoric horror of encroaching zombies all sit neatly side by side inside the mystique conjured by the mere mention of Franz Kafka. This fully realized post-modern parody of Bach's infamous Coffee Cantata is at turns humorous, introspective, intellectual, and confrontational, drawing us into Kafka's fantastic and philosophical world through the story of fearful Old Schlendrian and his feisty daughter Leitchen. Ultimately, we are faced with the question of who we are as perceivers; we are all here in a group attending to the music of these four composers, yet we can hear with only our own ears. Your experience will not be mine; yet without each one of us here, this particular experience will not have been created. To quote from Mr. Currier's libretto, “So cats need their mice, and people must read Kafka.” The composer composes, the performer performs, the listener listens. But who is the cat, and who is the mouse?


Program notes:

Christian Kriegeskotte, Triangulum

Triangulum was commission in the summer of 2010 by IonSound Project.  The work attempts to remove the listener from the relative security of the inner Universe to the cold outer edge of the visible cosmos.  Included in my series of works each named for celestial and cosmic phenomena, Triangulum bears no greater or suggested meaning; music, perhaps, for the sake of writing music and limited to its own structural and formal composition with regard to its significance, sparked to life by an unspecific inspiration brought on whilst observing the heavens.

The constellation Triangulum surrounds one of the many magnificent spiral galaxies (known simply as M33 or the Triangulum galaxy) discovered by advancements in telescope technology and subsequently photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.  As are the other works in this star-born series of compositions, Triangulum is inspired by NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website, in particular the image of galaxy M33 posted on September 13, 2008.  As I have indicated, the work is non-narrative and non-representational—hanging in space—a prolonged fragment of thought hurdling through the infinite Microcosmic mind.

Gracie Sutherland, Overture to a Zombie Apocalypse

Overture to a Zombie Apocalypse (2009-2011) is a chamber piece depicting the scenes preceding our inevitable domination by the undead menace. The piece begins with hushed conversation between two overeducated mad scientist types, soon zooming out to show Nefarious Research in a Secret Scientific Facility. Eventually, as noted videographer George Romero has shown on several occasions, outbreak will occur. Enter a montage of zombies slowly consuming the human population, converting them to reanimated corpses, all as a result of Containment Breach! (There Goes the Neighborhood…). Finally, the cities echo with the footsteps of the undead. At first escape requires only Something Like a Brisk Walk Away From Zombies. As their numbers grow, escape becomes harder and harder. Sooner or later, we will all be converted.

Nathan Currier, A Kafka Cantata

When Franz Kafka sat down on the evening of September 22, 1912 and, by his own description, wrote in a single sitting - not once getting up from his desk until the next morning  - the story Das Urteil (the Judgement), he seemed virtually to become the mature Kafka we know overnight. Admittedly, he had already written Der Heizer (The Stoker), which he later used as the opening of the novel Amerika, as well as some other lesser known short works, but the depth and technical perfection of Das Urteil, and the sudden intensity of his experience in writing it, inevitably make one curious about his life at the time of its creation. Most clearly, he had just met Felice Bauer in August, to whom he later became engaged, and yet no student of Kafka and his work could overlook the significance of the Yiddish theater group headed by one Yitzak Löwy that had come to Prague the previous autumn. Kafka went with Max Brod virtually every night to hear their productions, and he became particularly close with Löwy himself (Kafka’s mother’s maiden name was Löwy, incidentally). He somehow felt  more comfortable with the Jewishness of  these poor actors than he had in the realm of Martin Buber or Theodore Herzl, and his attitude towards his own Jewishness was consequently altered. His father particularly hated Löwy, and given that much of Kafka’s adult life was defined by his feeling of an internal struggle with his father (the story Das Urteil  deals, in fact, with the suicide of a young man after the tirade of a vengeful father), his relationship to Löwy seems particularly important. In the diaries, Kafka recounts frequent evenings at the theater, where Löwy would perform all alone, acting out all the parts himself, in some classic  from the Yiddish repertory, accompanied by just a few instruments.  

When Paul Sperry first approached me about writing a work for him, in 1989, I wanted to do something with texts of Kafka. I hope, finally, to have created a kind of “Löwy piece” for Paul -not, of course, having anything to do with the Yiddish repertory (Kafka himself shied away from ever overtly expressing his Jewishness in his work - the word Jewish never even appears in his works), but rather from the standard concert repertory, with Paul acting out all the characters in a version of the story of J.S. Bach’s well known Coffee Cantata, with the added twist that this retelling would not only use Kafka’s texts, but also somehow make Kafka its dramatic subject, and speak to the particular way that literature affected his life. Fundamentally, I’ve performed a simple substitution; Kafka for Coffee (in parts of Poland, I was told recently, after a performance of my work, a small cup of coffee is actually called a kafka) While in Bach’s parody Schlendrian and Lieschen fight over Lieschen’s bad habit, coffee drinking, and the struggle brings into question whether Lieschen will marry or not, here the pernicious beverage has become the pernicious modernist literature of Kafka (Kafka, in Czech, is the name of a bird of evil omen, of which Franz Kafka was all too well aware). Disputing Kafka, at least, is not really so fantastical, and when, in my second recitative, I have Schlendrian read a piece of scathing “anti-Kafka” criticism, I use selections from an essay written in 1950 by none other than Edmund Wilson, perhaps the pre-eminent figure of American literary criticism of the time, just after the first post-war republication of The Trial  in Germany.                         

In putting Kafka’s texts into a musical/theatrical setting (from which, on the surface, they seem so very far!), I hoped to portray Kafka as truthfully as possible, but very differently from the way he is so often seen. Max Brod referred to Kafka after his death as a “religious humorist” -- but nothing could be further from the way in which he is normally seen, as the oft-used adjective “Kafkaesque” so clearly shows. The use of the Coffee Cantata  seemed ideal for musically addressing this question -- Bach’s work is certainly funny, and it seems to be as close as the Protestant Bach could have come to writing a comic operetta -- but still, with its final chorale, one hears the sacred roots of the Cantata form popping out, and thus the “religious humorist” aspect of Kafka could be allowed to appear (of course this is not to deny that Kafka’s work is also full of terror, dislocation, etc., but is rather an attempt to show that these ‘darker’ aspects of his world should not be allowed to overshadow this other side of his work, also characteristic of his style).   Another way in which I hoped to break with our misconceptions of Kafka’s writing was in my work’s traditionalism, for want of a better word. Kafka is often viewed as an ultramodernist, a literary radical, who, along with Joyce and Proust ushered in our century’s literary innovations.But if Kafka was, indeed, highly original, he was by far the least self-consciously innovative of those three, and his originality seems to stem inadvertently from his highly personal mixture of influences, amongst which the Bible, the Talmud, folk tales and other classic texts rank very highly, indeed. Kafka can almost come to seem, in this light, a modernist “malgré-lui,” if you will. And what could be better to portray this inherent traditionalism, than to set his work in the context of the Coffee Cantata, Bach frequently being seen as virtually the beginning of our traditional concert repertory?

The text of Bach’s Coffee Cantata  is above all two things; first, a humorous look at the effects of what was then viewed as the pernicious beverage coffee, and, secondly, a simple folk-like tale of a daughter about to be married off by her father. I have kept Schlendrian, the father, quite the same, although he is now more than two hundred and fifty years old (Schlendrian means old humbug in  german); my more modern version of the story takes place in Germany around 1950, when Kafka began to be widely read there, having been banned during the war. My aged Schlendrian might now seem a bit wiser, or at least more learned, but he is every bit as stubborn as he was in Bach’s time. I’ve created Leitchen (Leitchen means little leader), his daughter, sister to Lieschen in the Coffee Cantata.  I have retained the Narrator as used by Bach, but rendered him more clearly differentiated from the other characters by virtue of his being a purely spoken part. As in 18th century opera, my story of Leitchen and Schlendrian mostly unfolds in the work’s recitatives. The Arias, on the other hand, are not so much pause for reflection and emotion,  as in traditional opera, but are, rather, musical readings of Kafka’s works (which can, of course, also give rise to emotion and reflection). Part I is called “Leitchen,” because here the three Arias portray Leitchen reading Kafka to her father, much to his displeasure. Part II is called “Schlendrian” because he is then alone, and its three Arias show him reading Kafka by himself.   In my retelling, too,  the struggle brings into question whether the father’s plans for the daughter’s marriage will come about, but Leitchen, unlike her 18th century sister, goes her own way, and the second part of my work recounts the gradual demise of Schlendrian, alone. Kafka himself felt incapable of marrying, and was convinced that his terminal tuberculosis was brought on by his second engagement to Felice Bauer. As with my Leitchen, it was in the context of struggling with his father that this incapacity came out, and that, simultaneously, made literature such a powerful release. Kafka felt that he couldn’t marry, because, as he once wrote to Felice, “I am literature.” In my version of Bach’s funny operetta, Kafka’s literature has the effect upon Leitchen that writing it had upon Kafka. In its own unstated way, then, my little operetta is a sort of symposium on Kafka and his work, as well as a setting of six of his texts. Was Edmund Wilson in some sense right? And if, indeed, Kafka’s work is a “literature of alienation,” could it be an inevitable one, inherent in the alienation and isolation of writing,and reading, itself?  –     Nathan Currier


Christian Kriegeskotte is a composer and conductor currently based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Kriegeskotte received his Bachelor of Fine Arts ('03) and Master of Music ('09) from Carnegie Mellon University where his primary teachers have been Nancy Galbraith and Leonardo Balada.  Mr. Kriegeskotte has worked professionally in Hollywood as a copyist, arranger and proof-reader for feature film and television as well as having served as an associate producer for Columbia Artists Management in New York City.  Mr. Kriegeskotte's works have been performed by ensembles such as 'eighth blackbird', The American Composers Orchestra, The Parker Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, The New York Miniaturist Ensemble, The Schola Cantorum of St. Peter in the Loop, Alia Musica Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic, Choirs and Contemporary Ensemble.

Gracie Sutherland (b. 1988) studied composition at Duquesne University from 2008-2011 under David Stock. Her chamber and concert music has been performed on multiple concert programs in several parts of the country. From 2009 to 2010, she worked as producer of singer-songwriter Jeremiah Clark’s debut album Just Another Sad Song.
In addition to composing and arranging, she dabbles in writing, graphic design, and absurdist humor. Her hobbies include biking, amateur chess, and vegetarian cooking. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where she often admires the architecture.

Nathan Currier         

Winner of the Rome Prize as well as the Academy Award, given for lifetime achievement, from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Nathan Currier has frequently been honored for his compositions, also having received the Guggenheim, Fulbright, NEA, NYFA, Fromm, Ives, Barlow, and ASCAP awards. Two of his chamber works were performed recently at the Berlin Philharmonic, including the premiere of his Possum Wakes from Playing Dead, commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic. Premieres last season included his new Piano Concerto commissioned as winner of the 2008 International Sackler Prize for Composition, Looking Out, for soprano, tenor and ensemble, commissioned by the New York Festival of Song, and Falling Stars, for baritone and ensemble, commissioned for the 2010 Monadnock Festival.

Renowned critic Tim Page has written that “Currier’s music is often wildly virtuosic,” and that his “engaging, virtuosic and richly inventive” works do not “fit into any of the pre-fabricated categories that have been set aside to describe composers...ultimately, Currier is an independent, with no seeming allegiance to any creed but the most valuable one of all – that of creating a succinct, personal and well-crafted music.”

Currier recently served on the faculty of the University of Virginia for two years, previously having taught at Juilliard, on their MAP and Evening Division faculties, for a decade. He studied at Juilliard and Peabody, was the Leonard Bernstein Fellow in composition at Tanglewood, and also holds a Diplome, with First Prize, from the Royal Conservatory of Belgium. The diversity of his composition teachers – Joseph Schwantner, Frederic Rzweski, David Diamond, Bernard Rands and Steven Albert – reflects the encompassing palette of his music.

Currier is also an accomplished pianist, having won the Silver Medal in the International Piano Recording Competition in his early twenties for a performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations. He is probably also unique among composers for his active involvement with climate science. He has spoken on global climate at Columbia University, New York University, and at UNICEF Headquarters at the United Nations, among many others. A scientific article, Plate Tectonics and Gaia, co-authored with NASA scientist Paul D. Lowman, will appear in Chimeras and Consciousness, a new book being released by MIT Press in February. He is a member of The Climate Project, and has presented to almost 1,000 people about climate change. His interest in climate is an outgrowth of his longtime involvement with Gaia theory, which is the topic of his largest musical work, a massive oratorio called Gaian Variations which was premiered with some controversy at Avery Fisher Hall by the Brooklyn Philharmonic on Earth Day, 2004.

Other important musical works include his quintet Thirty Little Pictures of Time Passing, part of the Berlin Philharmonic’s chamber music series. His very first commissioned work, premiered in India, was hailed by the critic as a “piece of genius,” with the prediction that “the world will hear a lot and drink deep of the creative cup of Nathan Currier.” His one act monodrama A Kafka Cantata was rated the #1 Musical Event of the Year in Pittsburgh by that city’s chief newspaper after its premiere there in 1992, and his music has also been broadcast nationally in the U.S. on National Public Radio with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and heard at major musical establishments such as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His music is recorded on Chandos, Crystal and New World Records, and is published by Theodore Presser Co. Currier has also frequently been given residency awards, such as at the Bellagio Center in Italy and the Camargo Foundation in France, as well as MacDowell, Yaddo, VCCA, Millay, Ucross, Ragdale, Blue Mountain Center, and Djerassi. He has been Composer-in-Residence

at the Wintergreen Festival (2007), and at the Music on the Hill Festival (2011).

Currier grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, coming from a musical family, and currently divides his time between rural Virginia and New York City.

Jack Kurutz is an avid recitalist and chamber musician with a diverse repertoire. In Boston, Kurutz worked with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Harvard Group for New Music, Callithumpian Consort, Enchanted Circle, Honors Wind and Brass Quintets, and a piano trio coached by Stephen Drury. At Carnegie Mellon University, Kurutz presented Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion and gave the Pittsburgh premieres of John Adams’ Hallelujah Junction and Grand Pianola Music.

Kurutz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, studying with Ivan Davis. He earned his Master of Music from New England Conservatory in Gabriel Chodos’ studio. In 2005, Kurutz completed an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University under Enrique Graf. Kurutz currently coaches with Ralph Zitterbart.

In September 2007, Kurutz won First Prize in the William Garrison Piano Competition sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Liszt Society. Additionally, he was awarded a prize for the best interpretation of a Franz Liszt composition. He was also a finalist in the 2009 Simone Belsky Competition.

Jonathan Moser is the Director of Music at Providence Presbyterian Church and is freelancer in the Pittsburgh area. Mr. Moser holds a Masters of Music in Performance degree from Arizona State University and a Bachelors of Music in Performance degree from Shenandoah University, with prior studies at University of the Pacific and Harid Conservatory. He is currently working towards his Doctorate in Music in Performance. His teachers include Akemi Takayama, Dr. Katie McLin, Dr. Olivia Hajioff, Jane Cromwell, Dr. James Stern, Sergiu Schwartz, Linda Cerone, and Ronda Cole. He has performed in masterclasses with Jaime Laredo, Claude Frank, Sylvia Rosenberg, Shlomo Mintz, and Sergiu Luca.

An active performer, Mr. Moser is assistant principal second of the Wheeling Symphony, is a member of the Erie Philharmonic, gives several solo recitals each year and performs frequently with other chamber ensembles including IonSound and ATTACK Theater. He has toured with Sandip Burman – an internationally acclaimed tabla player and has served as concertmaster for Pittsburgh Opera Theater (2010), Music On the Edge (University of Pittsburgh, PA – 2010), Erie Philharmonic (2009), Musica Nova (Scottsdale, AZ - 2003), Arizona State University’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestras (2001-2003), Shenandoah University's Symphony and Chamber Orchestras (1999-2001), and the Philadelphia Settlement School of Music Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Moser was winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Solo Competition, the Philadelphia College of Bible Solo Competition (2 years), the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association Solo Competition, and was a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra's Young Soloists Competition.

A Kafka Cantata Text:
English translation of Arias by Nathan Currier

Part I  “Leitchen”
Old Schlendrian came downstairs one day to find his daughter reading Kafka.

No 1  Recitative
Letichen sat with a book fixed rigidly in her hands.  She looked at her father and said:  “Keep quiet, do not speak, and listen to this”  Then she began to read to her father--

No 2  Aria
“Ach,” so sang the mouse, “the world gets smaller with every day. At first it was so big that I was worried.  I ran further and was happy when I then looked left and right: in the distance I saw walls.  Now I see these length walls converging ahead as fast as I can run, so fast that I’m in the final room, and in the corner sits the trap inside which I’m running.”  “Meow.  You just need to change your direction, meow, meow,” so sang the cat and ate him.

No 3 Recitative
Schlendrian remained silent.  He seemed almost at a loss for words.  But then, he said:  “Come Leithcen, these are just parables, read no more.  It’s soon to be your wedding day.  Come be off, no delay!”  “Father, I’m no longer sure that I’ll have a wedding day.  Just parables, you say?  Father, listen to this”--

No 4  Aria
Many complain about how the words of the wise again and again and again and again are just parables but they can’t be turned to in everyday life and this is the life that we have.  When the wise man says: “go over there,” he does not mean that you should be going across to the other side across you, which one anyhow could take on by oneself, if the result would be worth the travel time, rather he manes some sort of legendary ‘across,’ something that we can’t fathom that also he can’t manage to explain to us, and so it therefore really can’t help us here.  Really all these parables try to find a way to tell us that the ungraspable is ungraspable and that we have always known.  To this answered someone: “Why defend yourselves?  If you, too, the parables followed, then you would become the parables yourselves and thereby free from everyday sweat and toil.”  Another man answered back: “I’ll bet you that that too’s a parable.”  “You are the winner.”  “But it’s only in parable.”  “No, in reality; in parable you are the loser.”

No 5 Recitative
Schlendrian’s face was read and his jaw was stiff.  He knew these stories well.  Letichen library.  But now, he paid them no attention:  “What did you say?  No wedding day? No wedding day?  No wedding day?”  At first, Leitchen remained silent.  Then she said: “Father, let’s not speak about that right now.  Let’s talk about the parables.”  “No wedding day, no wedding day, no wedding--My, how we’ve changed!  Letichen, if you don’t stop this, you just wait and see what will happen to you!  Give me that book, and go to your room!”  “No, I won’t, I have to finish it first.”  “Give it to me, give it to me, you don’t have to read that stuff!”  “You’re just an old humbug!”  With rage Schlendrian fumbled through a pile of books, finally pulling one out with shaking hands:  “Keep quiet.  Listen to this--ahem!”  Then he began to read to Leithcen, softly at first, but later with ever greater agitation:  ahem!  “The denationalized, discouraged, disaffected, disabled Kafka, though for the moment he may frighten or amuse us, can in the end only let us down--He is quite true to his time and place, but it is surely a time and place in which few of us will want to linger--whether as stunned and hypnotized helots of totalitarian states or as citizens of freer societies, who have relapsed into taking Kafka’s stories as evidence that God’s laws and man’s purpose are conceived in terms so different that we may as well give up hope of ever identifying the one with the other.”  “Oh! My god!” Leitchen muttered.  But Schlendrian continued: “ ‘One must not cheat anybody, not even the world of its triumph,’ says Kafka, in an aphorism which has been much applauded.  But what are we writers here for if it is not to cheat the world of its triumph? In Kafka’s case it was he who was cheated and never lived to get his own back.”  “Oh! What trash!” “Sh! Leitchen: ‘what he has left us is the half expressed gasp of a  self-doubting soul trampled under.  I do not see how one can possibly take him for a great artist or a moral guide.’ “ “Oh! what rubbish!” “Letichen, why can’t you at least listen to this!?” “Listen to that? What I should do is leave this house behind!  No!  You listen!” she said, and she turned the page with great vehemence, and read:

No 6  Aria
I command my horse from its stall be let out.  The servant can’t understand so I go in the stall, saddle up my horse, and then mount it.  In the distance I can hear one solo trumpet calling, I question him what is it saying?  He does not know and has not heard a thing.  Before the gate he stopped me and then asked: “Where are you riding, sir?”  “I do not know, just off from here, away from here.  Always away from here, only so can I reach my goal.”  “You know, therefore, your goal?”  “Yeah, I told you so: ‘away from here,’ that is my goal.”  “You have no food to take with you.”  “I needn’t any, the journey is so long that I will starve to death, if I on the way can’t find something.  Never could food ever save me, as it is with luck truly a gigantic journey.”

And with that, Letichen flung the book, ran out of the room, and went upstairs.

Part II  “Schlendrian”
No 7  Recitative
Schlendrian listened.  He thought that perhaps he heard the water running.  Nothing more.  He looked at the book; it had landed on the table.  At first, a smile grew over him, but it disappeared, and in a sudden involuntary motion, Schlendrian struck the book.  He then sank into a torpor, and only after much time had passed did he notice the words that were now on the page before him, and, in a strange state, both vexed and highly concentrated, he began to read.

No 8 Aria
So we are like tree trunks in snow, seeming to lie smoothly, with a little shoving one could lightly push them away.  No, no, no, no, that cannot be, since they are hard to the ground connected.  Oh but see, even that is just seeming to be.

No 9  Recitative
Schlendrian heard nothing, after Leitchen stormed out of the room, but in fact, his daughter was preparing her bags.  Soon, she left.  Much time must now pass.  Long since has Leitchen gone far away, and in his loneliness, Schlendrian has little by little lost his mind.  He imagines now that Leitchen is still there, and reads incessantly from the book which she left behind.  All of his other daughters are so completely forgotten that Letichen, his last, seems like the incarnation of them all.  Every night after dinner, he reads to her his favorite parable, which he calls “the lesson.”  “It’s time for the lesson,” he’ll say, and then, with her sitting by his side, or imagining so much, he reads.

No 10  Aria
Just at the Law stands a doorkeeper.  Up to this doorkeeper comes a man from the country and asks him for entry into the Law.  But the doorkeeper says that he cannot just now allow the man to enter.  The man thinks awhile, then asks him whether he will later be allowed thus to enter.  “Maybe later, now it is no.  If it tempts you so, just try all the same.  But you watch out: I have power.  And I am just the lowliest doorkeeper.  From room to room are a line of doorkeepers, each more powerful than the previous.  Just the look of the third is so I cannot bear it.”  The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him have a place beside the door to linger.  And there he sits for days and for decades.  During the many long years the man scrutinized the doorkeeper almost without stopping.  He forgets the rest of the doorkeepers, and this sole one seems to him the solitary obstacle for his entry into the Law, inside the Law.  He gets childish, childlike, senile.  Then his eyes begin to go dim, and he can’t say if it’s really getting darker now, or if it is just his eyesight failing him.  Just at this time he senses through darkness a big glow that inextinguishably breaks out from the door to the Law.  Now lives he not much longer.  Before his passing gathers up within his mind all his experience from all the years into a question, that he ‘til now of the doorkeeper had still not dared ask.  “All folks strive to go into the Law.  Why is it that in these several decades no one except me entry requested?”  “Here could no one else ask me to enter, since this sole entry was just for you.  I’m going now to fasten it.”

No 11  Recitative
Your next view of Schlendrian shall be your last.  Eventually he became so weak that he could no longer go upstairs to bed, and spent day and night in his reading room.  Now, blind, he passes the hours on his couch, half-reclining, reciting from memory what parts of the book he hasn’t yet forgotten.  Frequently, one hears him now repeating those first words that Leithcen had read to him on that terrible day, many years ago.  “The world gets smaller with every day”  Or, other times, those words that lay before him, when Leitchen had thrown the book and run out of the room.  Mostly, though, he recites one text, over and over again, monotonously, as if it could go on for ever and ever--

No 12  Aria
Deep sunken in the night.  Just as one sometimes one’s head sinks for deep reflection, so deeply sunken down in the night.  Round you people are sleeping.  It is only play-acting now, it is just innocent self-deception, that they’re in houses sleeping, in solid bed frames under solid roofs, all outstretched or perhaps curled on a mattress, in their bed sheets, under blankets, but really they’ve found themselves thrown together like back then in times past and then again later in desert regions a camp outside, with a great group of people beyond counting, an army, a folk under cold grey sky on cold hard earth and thrown down on the ground where before one stood, the brow on one’s arm inclined, and the face flat on the ground pressed down, softly breathing, gently breathing.  And you watch; you’re one of the watchmen, signal the next one by shaking a burning stick wildly from the giant woodpile next to you.  Why? Why do you watch? Someone must watch, that’s all.  Someone must be there.

So cats need their mice, and people must read Kafka!


Thank you to Christian, Gracie and Nathan for your music!  We have enjoyed bringing it to life!  

Jack and Jonathan- we are indebted to you for your hard work and commitment to this project.  It has been our pleasure to have a continued relationship with both of you!
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