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golden anniversary by Milo paulus being performed live

golden anniversary (2022)

soprano, cello and piano

ca. 8 minutes

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Golden Anniversary (2022)

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They must have been different once,

fire and water, miles apart,

robbing and giving in desire,

that assault on one another’s otherness.

Embracing, they appropriated and expropriated each other

for so long

that only air was left within their arms,

transparent as if after lightning.

One day the answer came before the question.

Another night they guessed their eyes’ expression

by the type of silence in the dark.

Gender fades, mysteries molder,

distinctions meet in all-resemblance

just as all colors coincide in white.

Which of them is doubled and which missing?

Which one is smiling with two smiles?

Whose voice forms a two-part canon?

When both heads nod, which one agrees?

Whose gesture lifts the teaspoon to their lips?

Who’s flayed the other one alive?

Which one lives and which has died

entangled in the lines of whose palm?

They gazed into each other’s eyes and slowly twins emerged.

Familiarity breeds the most perfect of mothers—

it favors neither of the little darlings,

it scarcely can recall which one is which.

On this festive day, their golden anniversary,

a dove, seen identically, perched on the windowsill.

— Wislawa Szymborska

program notes

When browsing through my step-dad’s poetry collection looking for inspiration and interesting texts to set for a potential new work, the collected works of Wisława Szymborska in a volume called, “Ends and Beginnings” immediately leapt out at me for their expressive and dramaturgical possibilities. I got so excited about it; I planned an entire song cycle based on these (selection of) poems.

This unfortunately never came to fruition in a way that I would have liked, but I did end up finishing the first work, “Golden Anniversary”. The rest will remain as drafts and sketches in the bottom of my drawer for the time being.


Listen to the original premiere recording of this work.

Premiered by:

Maria Florencia Molinero (soprano), Irati Erostarbe Maiztegi (cello), Bert Lasseel (piano)

Recorded on December 19th 2023, in the MIRY Concert Hall in Ghent, Belgium


Artboard 1

A dramatic, and lyrical piece of work. Fresh and captivating. I enjoyed the performance

— Peter-Anton Smit

Artboard 1

A wonderful work

— Luca moscardi

portrait of milo paulus


Milo Paulus (b. August 14th, 1999) is a Dutch composer, conductor, orchestrator and score producer specializing in original music for concerts, screen and stage productions. His catalog spans a diverse range of styles and influences for both instrumental and vocal works, as well as countless original soundtracks for films and video-games. His works have been commissioned by various performing groups, festivals and institutions.

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