• Category / Instrument
    Recitation-singer, ensemble and electronics
    1.1.1clB.1.1Cbn / / 2perc / pno / pno midi / strings / Ircam
  • Duration
  • Published
  • Premiere
    Oakland (United States), Main Theater, E. Bastian Center
    Barbara Sukowa (act.), Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson (conductor)


Michael Jarrell's works are published by Editions Henry Lemoine :

27, boulevard Beaumarchais
75004 PARIS
Tel. : +33 (0)1 56 68 86 74


Cassandra (English version)



The electronic sections of this work were produced at Ircam.
Electronic Music Design: Pierre Charvet


Within Michael Jarrell's oeuvre, Cassandre represents the culmination and synthesis of an initial and extremely fruitful creative period, even if the selection of the work's text was "dictated" to him by Christa Wolf in both musical and expressive aspects. The figure of the Trojan priestess, reinterpreted by the German author, is torn back and forth between images of the past and of impending catastrophe. Neither Wolf nor Jarrell himself means to plunge us into the midst of the Trojan War: Cassandra speaks merely of her memory of the events. At the piece's beginning, the worst has already occurred. The tope of lamentation - and of revolt - is based not so much on a utopia of change or an attempt at a breakthrough, but much rather engulfed by a sort of twilight. In a tiny space bordering on nothingness, as well as in the lightning-like certainty that precedes death, time deepens, closes and returns in loops: in the intensity of emotions, the past becomes present. The various moments of the drama are not offered up in a causal chain, adhering to some realistic principle, but rather follow one another without transition, attracting and sounding into one another, in a stream of consciousness that reveals the essential. The inner monologue represents both an attempt at clarification and the admission of failure, a marriage of clear realisation and melancholy. The whole work, according to the composer, is one "long coda".

Philippe Albèra


1 CD Kairos, KAI0012912
Cassandre (French version)
Astrid Bas (actress)
Ensemble intercontemporain
Susanna Mälkki (conductor)

Works index
© Michael Jarrell