This is the third song cycle of settings of poems by Michael Harlow.
The five poems deal with the ambiguities of life as seen through love relationships.
There are two singers whose music is written in graphic notation and who represent the male psyche and its anima.
The accompaniment is by a solo percussionist, using mainly untuned percussion (with the exception of the xylophone). All the percussion entries, timbres and durations were determined by chance.
The image of a mirror in the fourth poem: The right touch gave rise to the use of mirror forms in all movements. Thus each movement is a palindrome and the fourth movement takes the mirror image further, in that the singers mirror one another pitch-wise.
You undress / by moonlight; your body is an adventure. / The mirror goes on / forever. I begin to suspect / you are leaving the story / I have been holding in my arms / all these years, or almost. If I walk / from the room, return with a / small song for company /and the right touch to write in / the ending, will I find / the mirror may be taking you / away; the moon / a perfect accomplice? Will I hear that cry / in the dark space / behind you?
The third movement “The arrangement” is also a canon and the fifth movement “My love in bed I will not lie” has a strong Jazz feeling.
Poem then, for love, für Sopran, Bass und Schlagzeug, geht von der Jungschen Idee einer Polarität von «Animus» und «Anima» aus. Die vom Perkussionisten vermittelte Auseinander- setzung und Annäherung der männlichen und weiblichen Seelenfiguren hatte etwas Einmaliges: die Begegnung schien ein einziges Mal, in dieser Form nicht wiederholbar, stattzufinden. Sie entfaltete sich in feinen Abwandlungen von innig bis kokett, sehnsüchtig, sinnlich, mit kostbaren kleinen Ernüchterungen. Der Ausdrucks-reichtum ihrer Stimmen schien für die Sänger selber eine Entdeckung zu sein. — Jürg Schubiger
Poem then, for love, for soprano, bass and percussion, is based on the Jungian idea of a polarity of «Animus» and «Anima». The fights and reconciliations (moderated by the percussionist) of the masculine and feminine parts of the psyche appeared quite unique: the meeting seemed to take place just once and as if in this form not repeatable. It developed in small steps from earnest to coquette, longing, sensual, with precious tiny disenchantments. The singers themselves seemed surprised by the rich expressive power of their voices. — trans. KP