commentary to Saying motet after Vincent van Gogh

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Saying motet after Vincent van Gogh  for 3-part Female Choir a cappella (S/Mez/A) (1984)


Duration: 2 minutes

Publisher: Schott Music ISMN: 979-0-001-20272-5

"... A man who does not feel small, who has not grasped that he's a grain of dust, how great his error. ..."

Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, November 4, 1883, Drenthe

(Schott Music C 57083)

During the final months of 1883, the painter Vincent van Gogh retreated to the heathland in the Dutch
province of Drenthe to recover from a difficult phase in the city of Den Haag marked by personal failure, hoping to regain inner peace in harmony with nature. In a letter to his brother Theo, he posed
the question: What is it that most makes me human? After bemoaning social conventions and the absurdity of the aspiration to know and determine everything, the letter concluded with his answer to his own question which was used as the text of this work.
Bertold Hummel composed the short motet at the request of Schott Music in 1984. The following year, he set the same text in the seventh movement of his Eight Fragments from letters of Vincent van Gogh for Baritone and String Quartet, Op. 84 (ED 20241), thereby underlining his inner affinity with
the quotation.

Martin Hummel

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