" Das Märchen (Le conte dit Serpent vert) "
Editions Ricordi München
- Nominated for : The Musical Composition Prize 2009
Emmanuel Nunes studied harmony and counterpoint between 1959 and 1963 at the Academy of Music in Lisbon with Francine Benoit. From 1961 to 1963, he also follows the course of germanic philology and greek philosophy at the University of Lisbon.
In the Darmstadt summer courses that he follows from 1963 to 1965, he was particularly influenced by the composition course of Henri Pousseur and Pierre Boulez.
Settling in Paris in 1964, he studied alone in the only purpose of going to work with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne, which he did in the following year for two years (courses at the Rheinische Musikhochschule in Stockhausen, but also Poosseur for composition, Jaap Spek for electronic music, Georg Heike for phonetics).
The analysis of Momente by Stockhausen himself was experienced by Nunes as the "most important step of his first introduction to composition".
Obtaining in 1971 first prize in musical aesthetics with Marcel Beaufils at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris, he began a doctoral work on Webern which he finally abandons two years later. He is a scholar of the Ministry of Education of Portugal in 1973-1974 and the Gulbenkian Foundation in 1976-1977.
He was invited by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) in Berlin as composer in residence in 1978-1979. He obtained the grant for creation of the French Ministry of Culture in 1980. He teaches composition, from 1981 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg from 1986 to 1992. Emmanuel Nunes was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris in 1992. He has also held teaching activities at the University of Harvard, at IRCAM, the Darmstadt summer courses, at the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan and the Icons of Novara (Italy).
Many of his works have been commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Radio France, the French Ministry of Culture and have been performed at major international festivals and broadcast by the major european radio stations.
They are published by Ricordi and Jobert, and discuss various kinds: from instrumental solos (Litanies du feu et de la mer I and II for piano, Aura for solo flute) to large ensembles (Quadlibet for 28 instruments, six percussionists and orchestra, Machina Mundi for 4 solo instruments, choir, orchestra and tape). The Ensemble intercontemporain has recorded Lichtung I and II in 2001, published in 2003 at Accord. In 1999, Emmanuel Nunes obtains the Cim prize- Unesco, and in December 2000, the prestigious Pessoa prize.
In 2007 the complete cycle of Lichtung I-III is created at the Music Festival in Berlin with musikFabrik Cologne. The Festival Musica in Strasbourg also dedicated the same year a retrospective of Nune's. In January 2008, it is the world premiere in Lisbon at the Opera National de S. Carlos of the first lyrical work of Nunes' Das Märchen [Le Conte, dit Le Serpent Vert] "according to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Framework and Characters
The decor of the plot of Das Märchen (Le Conte) consists of a wide river separating two completely different banks which, at the beginning of the story, are not connected by any fixed bridge.
On one side are the palace, the gardens and the lake of the Belle Lilia, the character to whom all converges. On the other side is the temple hidden underground beneath the mountain, the hut and garden of l'Homme (le Vieux) à la Lampe and his wife (La Vieille), and also the marshes situed near the gulf where the Serpent Vert sleeps.
In the Palais de la Belle Lilia lives three girls in waiting. These correspond to the three statues found in the underground temple on the other side and represent the three kings (le Roi d'Or, le Roi d'Argent, le Roi de Bronze ). A fourth statue, le Roi Marbré, is made of a highly imperfect alloy of gold, silver and bronze). La Belle Lilia has a canary and La Vieille has a dog called Mops. Living on the side of the Belle Lilia is also le Passeur, who takes travelers on the other side of the river but can not take anyone in the other direction.
On the other side lives le Géant, on whose shadow it is possible to cross in both directions, but only at sunset. The only material way to cross in both directions is by le Serpent Vert, which turns momentarily into a bridge at noon. The young Prince - an adolescent - is only a "wandering shadow" that has lost its signs and wanders from one bank to the other never finding rest. Finally, the two Feux Follets, agitated and impertinent, sow gold coins wherever they go, and l'Autour, a background rapaceen appears only at certain moments of the story.
All these characters live in the grip of an enigmatic and mysterious spell that prevents them from "being" whole. All live waiting for a change they have heard about, but which they do not know when or how it happen. L'Homme à la Lampe knows all the procedures and all the rites to be observed when the time comes, but he ignores when the change will occur. Throughout the plot of Das Märchen all the characters are made to change or transforme, to overcome the curse that strikes by acquiring new qualities or renewed ones in order to live a free and flourishing life.
Das Märchen, in its overall frame, revolves around a precise and methodical dramaturgy. It describes a slow change, a change that starts in an original state dominated by disorder, tension and imperfection, which culminates in a moment of acute nevralgic crisis, and dissolves with the formation of a new order, of harmony and universal perfection.
Prologue - L'Imagination
During the prologue are recited sixteen sentences by Goethe. These are not part of the story Das Märchen. They address the topic of the power of the imagination, its ability to generate works of art and how it works, and they also evoke the open caracter and the potentially unlimited contents of the fairy tale that follows.
Act 1 - Le Jeu des éléments
Scene 1-Les Feux Follets
Tableau l - Le Passeur / L'Erance
The story begins at night, in the cabin of the Passeur on the river bank where the Belle Lilia lives, while the Passeur is awakened by the two Feux Follets who want to go to the other side. Crossing the river. Arriving on the other side, the Feux Follets shake themselves and drop many gold coins into the bottom of the boat. The Passeur, who can not accept gold in payment, requires of them a salary that should come from fruits of the earth (three cabbages, three artichokes and three onions). He then goes down the river to hide the gold in a safe place from the water.
Tableau 2 - Le Serpent
Arriving in a steep place, le Passeur throws the gold coins at the bottom of a deep crevasse, however, at the bottom of this abyss sleeps le Serpent Vert. It wakes up and swallows greedily the gold coins. It becomes transparent and luminescent. It leaves its pit looking where this gold could come from and, after looking around, it meets the Feux Follets near a swamp.
Tableau 3 - L'Or
Conversation between the Feux Follets and the Serpent Vert in the swamp,Le Serpent informs the la Belle Lilia, whom they want to visit lives on the other side. Les Feux Follets realize their mistake and want to turn back. Description of the three ways to cross the river. Les Feux Follets take off.
Scene 2 - Les Secrets de la Terre
Tableau 1 - In the crevaces of the rocks
Alone again, le Serpent Vert sneaks through cracks to the underground temple. We see The Temple and the statues of the four kings. Dialogue with Le Roi d'Or.
Tableau 2 - L'Homme à la lampe
Appearance of l'Homme à la Lampe in the underground sanctuary. The four kings, who each want to know their future, ask him questions. L'Homme à la Lampe has three secrets, but ignores a fourth. Le Serpent hissed a few words into his ear and l'Homme à la Lampe shouted in a loud voice: "The time has come." The underground temple rings and metal statues vibrate in turn. Le Serpent goes towards the east, and l'Homme à la lampe, effortlessly goes through the rock, and went west to his cabin built at the foot of the mountain.
Scene 3 - two Rives
Tableau l - La Vieille
The cabin of l'Homme à la lampe and the Vieille. La Vieille is upset. While her husband was away, the Vieille was visited by the Feux Follets: they ate the golden walls of the hut and killed the little dog Mops, not without requiring her to pay the debt they owe to the Passeur. L'Homme à la lampe changes the dog's body into onyx and his magic lamp recovered with gold the walls of the cabin. Obeying the orders of her husband, at dawn the next morning, the Vieille sets out to give the Passeur the fruits of the earth and to give the dog to Belle Lilia so that she can revive and keep it.
[parallel to the main action, in her palace, the beginning of the Chanson du Matin of the Belle Lilia]
Tableau 2 - Fruits of the earth / The Géant / Le Fleuve
La Vieille goes slowly towards the river, slowed down by the weight of the basket she carries on her head. She meets l'Ombre du Géant, who steals from her a cabbage, an artichoke and an onion. She waits a long time for le Passeur. Finally he arrives in his boat, in which he is in the process of crossing the young Prince. Discussion between La Vieille and le Passeur: he will only accept his payment, which is not complete, against her personal commitment to pay off the debt within the next twenty-four hours. As a sign of agreement, La Vieille must plunge her hand into the river. It comes back out black and all stunted. Le Passeur lets her leave. La Vieille, whoes basket now starts to levitate begins to converse with the young Prince.
[parallel to the main action, the rest of La Chanson du Matin of the Belle Lilia]
Tableau 3 - La Vieille and the young man
Dialogue between La Vieille and the Prince. The latter, who only sees himself as an "Ombre Errante" is also going to the Palace of la Belle Lilia. They therefore decided to go along the path together that separates the bridge at noon.
[parallel to the main action, the rest of La Chanson du Matin of the Belle Lilia]
Tableau 4 - La Traversée
At noon, La Veille, the young Prince and the Feux Follets (who are invisible at this time of day) cross the river on the back of the Serpent Vert that was temporarily converted into a bridge of precious stones. All now find themselves on the banks of the Belle Lilia - La Vieille and her dog in Onyx, the Prince, le Serpent vert and the two Feux Follets.
[parallel to the main action, end of La Chanson du Matin of the Belle Lilia]
Act II-Les Métamorphoses
Scene 1 - Le Bannissement
Tableau 1 - La Belle Lilia
La Veille, the Prince and le Serpent Vert arrive in the garden of the la Belle Lilia. We hear her Chanson du Matin.
Dialogue between la Vieille and la Belle Lilia. We learn that the canary of the Belle Lilia died that morning: he took refuge against her breast after panicking when he saw un Autour. However, the Belle Lilia has strange powers: she kills all living things that she touches, she brings to life the creatures turned to stone and her eyes weaken those on whom they fall.
The dog is offered to la Belle Lilia, who sees several signs of the advent of a new era. However, the most important is still missing: the temple near the river and the stable bridge.
Tableau 2 - Le Prince and Belle Lilia
Le Serpent says that the prophecy of the bridge is completed and that he has already seen the temple underground. La Belle Lilia does not consider the prophecy has been realized. La Vieille and la Belle Lilia exchange their animals (and the canary and Mops). Le Serpent repeats the phrase "the time has come." La Belle Lilia brings the dog Mops back to life and plays with him. The Prince, seeing the Belle Lilia kissing the dog Mops, decides to die and rushes into her arms. Mort du Prince.
Tableau 3 - Le Cercle
Le Serpent Vert wraps himself in a magic circle around the body of the Prince, to prevent him from decomposing. La Belle Lilia is iced with terror, but still does not cry. Her three ladies in waiting try to comfort her. La Belle Lilia sees her reflection in a mirror and starts to cry.
Scene 2 - Le Temps
Tableau 1 - Danger / La Menace
Twilight approaches. The body of the Prince will enter into decay when it begins to get dark. La Vieille goes in search of les Feux Follets so that they pass on the other side and call l'Homme à la Lampe, the only one who can save the Prince, and with him, all the others. Concern and anxiety of all. Le Serpent Vert looks around him, in search of a favorable omen.
Tableau 2 - L'Alliance
Le Serpent sees l'Autour red and purple high in the sky. Arrival of the l'Homme à la lampe. It is suddenly midnight, without anyone knowing how. L'Homme à la lampe distributes instructions to all of them. United in a mysterious ritual, all execute his orders. The three ladies in waiting of the Belle Lilia fall asleep.
Tableau 3 - Le Premier cortège / Le Pont
A procession is formed, composed of the following characters: Le Serpent Vert, les Feux Follets, la Vieille, bearing the body of the Prince and the canary in the levitated basket, Belle Lilia with the dog Mops in her arms and, finally, l'Homme à la Lampe. Le Serpent becomes a bridge of shining light on which the procession may cross the river. From afar, le Passeur observes this crossing.
Tableau 4 - Le Sacrifice / La Résurrection
The journey ends. All are at the foot of the underground temple. Le Serpent Vert decides to sacrifice himself before he was sacrificed. With her left hand La Belle Lilia touches the Serpent and with the the right, her beloved Prince. The Prince and the canary come back to life at the same time, while the snake decays into thousands of precious stones that are collected into the basket of la Vieille and then thrown into the water of the river
Scene 3 - Le Pont Promis
Tableau 1 - Le deuxième cortège / La Fissure / Le Temple
A second procession is formed, consisting of the following characters: l'Homme à la lampe, the Prince, Belle Lilia, La Vieille and the Feux Follets. Passing between the rocks, the procession goes to the underground temple. The Feux Follets open the golden padlock with their flames that locks the great bronze door of the temple. We see the statues of the Kings.
Tableau 2 - Sous le Fleuve / Le Voyage
Dialogue with the four kings. The time for change has finally arrived. The temple starts to move through the rocks, in a journey that passes under the river to its final destination: the other side.The Paseur's hut is the altar of a temple. It is already morning, the young Prince was crowned king and we praise the three powers - Sagesse, Apparence et Force - to which is added Love, which does not govern, but educates.
Tableau 3 - L'Apothéose
The final temple, the place and the bridge are completed. The Prince (the new king) married la Belle Lilia. The girls in waiting reappear with la Vieille who has rejuvenated. She renews her wedding vows with l'Homme à la Lampe, who has since been appointed adviser to the young sovereign. The precious stones, remains of the Serpent Vert, bind themselves together forming an eternal bridge that connects the two banks of the river in a busy traffic flow. The Géant appears one last time before being turned into a statue sundial. The Feux Follets take delight in throwing shining gold coins on the place of the temple, laughing at the eagerness with which the thousands of people crossing the magnificent bridge rush to them.