When I Die

for voice (mezzosoprano) and percussion

The piece „When I Die“ I wrote in February 1999 during my composition residency in Worpswede in Germany. The inner motivation for the piece was my wish to set to music a poem of my father that he wrote at the age of fifteen. However, its subject, and I dare to say even poetic quality go far away beyond that age. That is very fascinating about it. After my father´s death the subject of death became very close to me too.

Face-to-face with death, there is no need for many words or notes – I think this is the simplest piece of music I have ever written. I was inspired by folk funeral songs known as „sirató“ in Hungary and „placky“ in Slovakia.

The piece has two language versions – the original Hungarian of my father´s poem and an English one.

Iris Szeghy