Anne Frank - (1992)
for soprano and piano
for Judith Mok
Life is lived in rooms like this.
That, at least, we can say.
people come and go....
This text remains under copyright and is therefore not fully reproduced
[ 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
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.