First performance: February 1999 Frankfurt
Conductor: Peter Eötvös
SWF Symph. Orch.
Wojtek Drabowicz, bariton
With my self-invented language “Strabel” I entered an intoxicatingly beautiful and strange world as a toddler.
Foreign languages have retained their „unreal” characteristics in my life. I hear them rather as musical-gestural processes. The real content of the words is a mental translation process, then it flows very slowly down the tongue into your guts, the nest of your mother tongue.
It was a particular pleasure for me to compose my first opera “Three Sisters” (based on Chekhov’s drama) in Russian. I have always admired the expressive consonants of this language, the vowels that are created for singing, and the slightly dancing intonation which virtually generates the rhythm basically naturally.
The two dramatic male characters in Chekhov’s play, Tusenbach and Andrey, spoke to me from a distance of a hundred years, yet they sounded so near, so clear, so magical and so closely related to me.