Stephen Chen

Lieder Ohne Kunst

Lieder Ohne Kunst by Stephen Chen
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For fans of:Maria Callas, David Daniels, Nina Simone, Stephen Sondheim
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  1. Chapter 22 - My Life is Very Monotonous
  2. Loon Songs - I. My Breath Condenses
  3. Loon Songs - II. Loon Call
  4. Loon Songs - III. Shadow
  5. Loon Songs - IV. When Orange Red
  6. Loon Songs - V. Could I Rejoin
  7. Vicious Cycle - One Perfect Rose
  8. Vicious Cycle - Words of Comfort
  9. Vicious Cycle - Bohemia
  10. Vicious Cycle - News Item
  11. Vicious Cycle - Epitah
  12. Vicious Cycle - Symptom Recital
  13. Vicious Cycle - The Choice
  14. Vicious Cycle - Godspeed
  15. Vicious Cycle - From a Letter from Lesbia
  16. Vicious Cycle - Cherry White
  17. Nameless Stream - Tanka I
  18. Nameless Stream - Tanka II
  19. Nameless Stream - Tanka III
  20. Nameless Stream - Tanka IV
  21. Nameless Stream - Tanka V
  22. Nameless Stream - Tanka VI
  23. Nameless Stream - Tanka VII
  24. Nameless Stream - Tanka VIII
  25. Nameless Stream - Tanka IX
  26. Nameless Stream - Tanka X
  27. The Rabbit and The Skin Horse
  28. Ur-ban Songs - Vorrei Passare Alla Storia
  29. Ur-ban Songs - Abito Trenta Metri Dal Suolo
  30. Ur-ban Songs - A Blow from my Son
  31. Ur-ban Songs - Even if I'm with You
  32. Ur-ban Songs - Genius Loci
  33. Ur-ban Songs - Guerre
  34. Ur-ban Songs - Home is so Sad
  35. Ur-ban Songs - Piovera
  36. Ur-ban Songs - Before (Day)
  37. Five Songs of Exile
  38. Died of Spurn - The Most Terrible thing
  39. Died of Spurn - Behind Joy and Laughter
  40. Died of Spurn - Like two Doomed Ships
  41. Died of Spurn - All Trials are Trials
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LIEDER OHNE KUNST (Songs Without Art) is a retrospective of the alt-Classical songs/cycles Stephen Chen had composed and performed as part of his subversive recital practice, whereby politics and performance art masqueraded under the guise of music recitals. The genesis for LIEDER OHNE KUNST came about when Stephen recorded the soundtrack for STILLE STADT when he wrestled with his own vocal decline at age 40. The title alludes to the "artless" delivery and un-Artsong-like pieces that comprise Stephen's project of enmeshing politics and aesthetics in song.

When Stephen programmed Harry Somers' rarely performed Five Songs for Dark Voice in his debut vocal recital in 2003, he struggled to find a companion piece with the same gravitas and contemporary resonance. To address this deficiency in contemporary repertoire, he composed Five Songs of Exile using texts adapted from exiled poets (Mureed Barghouthy, Muhammad al-As'ad, Khairi Mansour, Yusuf Abu Lauz, Fawaz Turki), whose form reflected and was inspired by Somers' cycle. Stephen preferred to sing the poetry of others that inspired him, although he was a poet himself (writing the texts for Loon Songs and Before ... Day). Vicious Cycle makes the poetry of Dorothy Parker even more subversive by setting them in appropriations and pastiches of parlour songs that were popular in the Victorian Era. While the erotic and melancholic tankas of Parker's contemporary, Yosano Akiko, are accorded a minimalist timeless treatment in Nameless Stream. Stephen's settings of various Modernist poets (Arthur Rimbaud, Luciano Erba, Philip Larkin) are collected as Ur-ban Songs. Some of the songs have previously been featured in Stephen's films like STILLE STADT, and A MOOR. Stephen was one of the early composers who explored ways of setting prose to music, a now commonplace practice, with The Rabbit and The Skin Horse (text adapted from Margery Williams' Velveteen Rabbit) as well as selections from the unfinished mono-operas Chapter 22 (text adapted from Antoine St. Exupery's Little Prince), and Died of Spurn (text adapted from Oscar Wilde's De Profundis).

For fans of:Maria Callas, David Daniels, Nina Simone, Stephen Sondheim
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