European American Music Distributors Company is a member of the Schott Music Group

Katherine Balch


Subtitlefor soprano and double bass
Text informationText by Arthur Rimbaud (1886)
Technical requirements2 scores required for performance.
Year(s) composed2017
PublisherSchott Music
MovementsI. le haut étant fume II. quand le monde sera reduit III. j'ai tendu des cordes IV. il sonne une cloche
PremiereFebruary 25, 2017; Columbia Composer’s Concert Series, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, NY; Charlotte Mundy (soprano) and Doug Balliet (double bass)
CommissionCommissioned by Departure Duo (Nina Guo, soprano and Eddie Kass, bass)
Authorized translationsTranslation by the composer
Composer note

I wrote this short set of pieces in a week in January 2017 when I was feeling very agitated and restless musically — stuck in the middle of a piece but frantic, like tight-knit jittering of molecules in a solid. These songs are in part a reflection of that nervous energy and in part a reminder to myself that writing music can be as much an exercise in lightness and ease of the pen as it can be one of rigorous self-reflection and scrutiny.

The texts are excerpts from Rimbaud’s Phrases, which themselves feel like excerpts or fleeting fragments amidst longer aphorisms in his weird prose-suite Les Illuminations. Their aphoristic brevity exemplifies the abstract, ambiguous, but deeply beautiful language used throughout Les Illuminations. I don’t pretend to understand the poems, but rather usurp their words and sounds to reflect this restless quality they stir in me.

– Katherine Balch

Partner Links

  • Schott Music