Instrumentation: TTBB / Piano; duration 10 min.
Heine’s eerily beautiful ballad of the secular ruler, who blasphemes God and has to pay for this with his life, surely know many of us from school. Christian Ridil chooses the male choir with piano for his composition. Here, as always, he composes close to the text, whereby the direct speech of the main character is recited by a solo tenor emerging from the chorus, spoken on pitch, while the chorus is responsible for the narration of the ongoing action.
This is a nice trick, which logically follows the events in the text. In addition, the piano comments on the events according to tone painting.
Despite all the structural modernity, especially in the rhythmic structure, the work supports the performers at least in the vocal part, with a solide, almost robust cantability, so that it represents a significant enrichment of the male choir repertoire. Ridil leaves open whether the piece is to be performed by chorus or as a solo male quartet.