A Cycle of Songs 2001, 30′

A real frau’s liebe und leben

exists in two versions:  soprano or mezzo, Bb/C tpt/flug/cornet/optional picc tpt or Bb/Eb cl/b.cl/alto sax, pno

Available from Subito Music

Recorded on the Album 
Susan Kander: Five Movements for my Father (Loose Cans 5050)


Prologue Andante / Beguine, not too fast “Are you awake? I had a dream.”
Freely “Oh God, what was she doing there
Adagio ma non troppo “Theyr’e asleep. They’re both asleep.”
Riotously “I dreamt I went to a department store…”
Broadly “Wake up, wake up. I want you.”
Very freely “What a night. I’m so tired of dreaming.”
quarter = 44-48 “No dreams. No dreams.”

Performed by:
Roberta Gumbel, soprano
Lino Gomez, Bb and Eb clarinets, bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Thomas Schmidt, piano

Some people consider this piece a mono-drama, and it certainly could be staged as such. But even presented as chamber music, the trumpet or clarinet player moves around the stage in changing relationship to the singer. In the seven movements of the cycle – from honeymoon, through pregnancy, children, exhaustion, sexual re-awakening, the balancing act between gaining grandchildren and losing parents – we learn the life story of a woman from the dreams she tells the person next to her in bed – until, finally, she has no dreams, for there is no one there to tell them to.

The instrumental part for trumpet or clarinet demands several different instruments: cornet, Bb trumpet, C trumpet and flugelhorn; or Bb, Eb, Bass clarinets, and alto saxophone. These are placed around the stage along with music stands.  The singer relates any way she wants to the instrumentalist and the pianist, but she must acknowledge them in her universe.  The instrumentalist starts playing offstage during the Prologue and exits playing in the last movement.