Ein kleines Requiem

Eliot Fisk | Music by Kurt Schwertsik

Ein kleines Requiem, Op. 97

What leaves us is at the mercy of our imagination; it takes the form that we give it.
Grief also leaves us, subsiding into wistful sadness.
Yet we are still alive; we have survived and marvel daily at our own mundane existence.
Still we know: in time we also shall depart.
We can choose neither when nor where.
Still we have tried to give our life a meaning.
Though with us this meaning will disappear.
Not all at once: an echo will remain, and then fade away!
No monument, just an echo.
Yet we know the echo belongs to the sound that is its source.
Kurt Schwertsik, 29. März 2010
(translated by Eliot Fisk)

A New Work for Guitar of Historic Importance

"Ein kleines Requiem" is the product of several years of professional collaboration and ever deepening friendship with the eminent Austrian master of the "Third Viennese School", Kurt Schwertsik. I first met Kurt Schwertsik in the summer of 2002 when I was teaching a summer course organized by the Wiener Meisterkurse. After our first meeting that summer, Kurt began to send me little by little separate movements of the work that would eventually grow to become the Kleines Requiem. Right from the start, most of the movements were astonishingly well conceived for the guitar, yet they seemed to inhabit a completely new creative space as yet untouched even by the most creative of the non-guitarist composers who had written for the instrument.

As I wrestled with the many challenges presented by Kurt's work, the appropriate order of what had been sent to me only as a mostly unordered series of separate movements began to suggest itself. However, it was not until I began to prepare the present CD that the final order asserted itself as a kind of necessity - including the utter appropriateness of circling back to repeat some movements to round out the form, as Kurt had originally done only in the case of the Marche Boche. Although the present 18 movement structure now seems inevitable and right, it was in fact the product of some years of careful gestation, always supported by checking a performer's instincts with the wisdom of the work's creator. Truly, "Ein kleines Requiem", in part a requiem for Kurt's beloved friend, the iconoclastic writer, Wolfgang Bauer, is one of the most arresting and important works for guitar of the century!

Eliot Fisk,Boston March 2010

  1. Leb wohl (Farewell)
  2. Abschied nehmen (Leave Taking)
  3. Vogel als Bote (Bird as Messenger)
  4. Kleine Fee (Little Sprite)
  5. Marche boche
  6. Trio
  7. Double entendre
  8. Marche boche
  9. Kleine Fee (Little Sprite)
  10. Verstecktes Lied (Hidden Song)
  11. Wiederkehrender Traum (Recurring Dream)
  12. Ohnmächtiges Wüten (Impotent Raging)
  13. Präludium (Prelude)
  14. Zwei Stimmen (Two Voices)
  15. Capriccio: Die Zeit verrinnt (Time runs Out)
  16. Zwei Stimmen (Two Voices)
  17. Postludium: Was bleibt (Postlude: What Remains)
  18. Leb wohl… (Farewell…)

All compositions by Kurt Schwertsik

Eliot Fisk

Performing artist: Eliot Fisk
Guitar: Stephan Connor
Produced by Klaus Wolfgang Wildner
Recorded by John Taylor @ Potton Hall,Westleton, Suffolk, England, October 10-13, 2009
Mixed by Klaus Strazicky @ Plateau Studio, Munich
Mastered by Christoph Stickel @ MSM-Studios, Munich
Wildner Records 2010

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