1963 Vocal pieces

Being Beauteous

Cantata on the poem of the same name from “Les Illuminations” (1872/73) by Arthur Rimbaud

For coloratura soprano, harp and four violoncellos
In one movement

Year of composition 1963
Duration 15 minutes

For the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress Dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky

„Devant une neige,
un Être de beauté de haute taille.“

World premiere

World premiere 12. april 1964


Soprano Ingeborg Hallstein
Violoncelli Eberhard Finke, Wolfgang Boettcher, Peter Steiner, Heinrich Majowski
Harp Fritz Helmis

Conductor Hans Werner Henze


In this composition of mine, the poetry is treated as though each of its thoughts were a small aria in itself. These arias are framed by short violoncello quartets into which the harp is entwined. Whereas each aria has an autonomous form, the instrumental quintet sections are interrelated – they are variations of one another.

Hans Werner Henze