The End

The End (1992)

with financial support of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst
first performance: October 1-1995, Sint Michielsgestel
Charles van Tassel – bass/baritone
Marien van Nieukerken – piano

The composition consists of 7 songs for bass/baritone solo. The last song must be accompanied by one or more unspecified instruments.
The song-cycle is about ‘dying’.
Song 1 is based on a story by the 17th century English author John Aubrey. A woman welcomes her lover in such a way, that he is crushed to death.
Newspaper reports about several bizarre ways of dying, taken from the English newspaper The Independent, are told in songs 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The 6th song is based on a poem about the neat and controlled way insects use to die, by the English artist David Barton from his ‘drawing book’ Sequences One.
In the last song the singer tells the audience that he himself is happy to be still alive. It is based on a rather strange poem by Daniel Defoe, with which he concludes his Journal of the Plague Year.
The first song with the title Lovesong is included in the Donemus publication Tien Vocale Minuten. It is commissioned by Donemus and the Rotterdamse Kunststichting and the first performance was on February 23-1991 by Lieuwe Visser,


She leapt from the battlements into the arms of her lover, striking him dead.
John Aubrey (from Minutes of Lives)

Three years later the woman , said to have a mental age of about ten and guilt-ridden at the death of her son, was overheard by her landlady threatening another child with the words: ‘If you don’t shut up I will do the same what I done to the other one’. She made a confession that she had drowned him in the bath.
from The Independent, February 2-1992

A recluse who stopped living in a bungalow 35 years ago after being jilted at the altar, was found dead in a makeshift home built of branches and umbrellas in her front garden.
from The Independent, March 3-1992

The Russian general died of a heart attack, after he had been stopped by police from visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He was going to put flowers there, as he had done for as long as his family can remember on Armed Forces Day.
from The Independent, February 29-1992

She accused her husband outright of having an affair, and he said he could never do such a thing because a woman with whom he had an earlier affair had killed herself. The court heard that this statement was untrue; the woman concerned is still alive.
from The Independent, February 29-1992

Nothing dies so neatly as an insect.
When the wings are stilled,
the legs hook death and press it close,
pinned to the body beneath the head,
across the thorax, folded neatly.
David Barton (from Sequences One)

A dreadful Plague in London was,
In the Year Sixty Five,
Which swept an Hundred Thousand Souls
Away; yet I alive!
Daniel Defoe (from A Journal of the Plague Year)