Anne Frank - (1992)
for soprano and piano
for Judith Mok
Life is lived in rooms like this.
That, at least, we can say.
And people come and go....
This text remains under copyright and is therefore not fully reproduced herein.
[ 3 pages, circa 3' 45" ]
Michael O’Loughlin was born in Dublin in 1958 and educated at Trinity College Dublin. His first collection of poetry was published in 1980, entitled Stalingrad: The Street Dictionary (Raven Arts Press), Atlantic Blues (Dublin, Raven Arts Press, 1982); The Diary of a Silence (Raven Arts Press, 1985). His most recent collection of poetry is Another Nation: New and Selected Poems (New Island/Arc). He has also published a collection of short stories, The Inside Story (Raven Arts Press, 1999); a critical essay, After Kavanagh: Patrick Kavanagh and the Discourse of Contemporary Irish Poetry (Raven Arts Press, 1985); and his translation of the Dutch poet Gerrit Achterberg’s selected poems, Hidden Weddings (Raven Arts Press, 1987). O'Loughlin has lived outside of Ireland, much of the time in Amsterdam, but now is resident in Dublin and currently Galway City Writer-In-Residence. As well as publishing poetry, essays and translations, he is a screenwriter, and his most recent feature film is Snapshots (2002).
Written for Judith Mok, soprano, the tessitura is broad and vocal writing limpid and meant to be sung with an expressive rubato. The setting begins with a simple two-measure gesture in D major, opening in a lightly unsettled second inversion. The repetitive accompaniment underscores those little things which make up the "ordinary" day, in which all may be understood.
The intervening episodes for piano are periods of unsettled gestures, passionate compared to the more sedate and repetitive gestures in D major. They are intended to speak of that world outside -- for Anne Frank, it was the Nazi occupation and murderous threat to her and her family's very lives. Such unsettledness continues to this day, in other totalitarian systems which so easily and willingly threaten the individual and simple daily living. The accompanist is encouraged to make these episodes both brutal and hard.
Judith Mok (b. 1958) is a Dutch soprano, author and poet, who lives in Ireland and has released novels and many articles in English. She born in the artists' colony of Bergen in the Netherlands, but resides now in Dublin. She studied singing at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and has performed worldwide and has produced numerous recordings. She has published three collections of poetry and two novels in Dutch, and writes regularly for the Sunday Independent. She is currently touring with her one-woman show based on the life of Molly Bloom. I met this fine artist and Michael O'Loughlin in Amsterdam during concert performances of Parsifal at the Concertgebouw.
The score for Anne Frank is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the poet and composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.