Trois Méditations

One of the many things I love about Rilke’s poetry is the impact the texts often have at their conclusions; the revelation or epiphany that his language meanders its way towards by the end. Each poem in this set has that sort of profound moment at its close and, musically, this is what I worked to capture.

The first poem deals with loneliness by way of a ghostly pair of children who are presumably lost and a weeping girl who has been abandoned by her lover. In these two situations, however, the speaker has the relative safety of an observer rather than a participant. What Rilke then does in the last stanza is put the reader right in the driver’s seat of the experience by suddenly shifting to the first person. All of the sudden we are lost in the forest or weeping over a long-lost love, and all we can do at this moment is listen to the wind—the only constant throughout the entire poem—and cry.

The second movement is a bit more straightforward; just a sparkly tune in the Lydian mode crafted into a set of variations that eventually fades away into the distance. The last stanza is the origin of the songs title.

Le Reflet du Feu was the most difficult to set but, in the end, the simplest in terms of its music. The sound-picture I had in my mind was sitting around a campfire and having a conversation. No matter how loud or soft the discussion gets there would always be this constant underpinning of the crackle of the fire.

The compositional device that came to represent this is the constant back-and-forth of a triad in the instruments. The music ebbs and flows above it—or overflows, as in the case of the last four lines—until we arrive at the gorgeous final stanza of the poetry; a notion that, as musicians, we can certainly identify with.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together.