per Voce Meso e Pianoforte

Track Record

  • First Performance: Brussels (November 12, 1990) by Jan Joris baryton and Dirk Herten piano
  • Recording: Leuven (March 1, 1992) BRTN Radio 3 (Jan Joris and Dirk Herten)

Program Notes

De gedichten waarop deze liedercyclus werd geschreven, bevinden zich in de originele roman van Kipling tussen de verschillende hoofdstukken, waar ze een soort samenvatting geven van het verhaal, maar dan in een lyrische vorm. Hieruit werden de meest markante geselecteerd, en in een cyclus gegoten, die zo a.h.w. de gehele roman in verkorte versie weergeeft.

Over de verschillende liederen heen werd een eenheid gebracht door het cyclisch weerkeren van een aantal elementen, hetzij in letterlijke, hetzij in gevarieerde vorm. Deze kunnen zowel een echte structurele betekenis hebben (als een soort "Leitmotive"), als een eerder onomatopeische waarde (als louter illustrerend klankeffect). Verscheidenheid per lied werd dan weer bereikt door de keuze van een aangepaste zangtechniek (gaande van fluisteren, over roepen en Sprechgesang tot Belcanto), een aangepaste speelwijze voor de piano (clusters, idiomatische speelwijzen, harmonieken, klopgeluiden…) en een aangepaste harmonische sfeer (gaande van tonaliteit over modaliteit en polytonaliteit tot atonaliteit), telkens in functie van een zo direct mogelijke weergave van de tekst, zowel tekstanalytisch als tekstsynthetisch.

Peter Swinnen




Veil them, cover them, wall them round, Blossom and creeper and weed, Let us forget the sight and the sound, And the smell of the breed !

Fat black ash by the altar-stone Here is the white-foot rain ! And the does bring forth in the fields unsown, And none may affright them again; And the blind walls crumble, unknown, o'erthrown, And none may inhabit again !

Seal Lullaby

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us, And black are the waters that sparkled so green. The moon, o'er the combers, looks downwards to find us At rest int the hollows that rustle between. Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow, Ah weary wee flipperlin, curl at thy ease ! The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee, Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas !


Here we go in a flung festoon, Half-way up to the jealous moon ! Don't you envy our pranceful bands ? Don't you wish you had extra hands ? Wouldn't you like if your tails were -so - Curved in the shape of a cupid's bow ? Now you're angry, but never mind, Brother, thy tail hangs down behind !

Here we sit in a branchy row, Thinking of beautiful things we know, Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do, All complete in a minute or two- Something noble and wise and good, Done by merely wishing we could, We've forgotten, but never mind, Brother, thy tail hangs down behind !

All the talk we have ever heard Uttered by bat or beast or bird- Hide or fin or scale or feather- Jabber it quickly all together ! Excellent ! Wonderful ! Once again ! Now we are talking just like men ! Let's pretend we're,and never mind, Brother, thy tail hangs down behind ! This is the way of the monkey-kind.

The Little Hunter

Ere Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the monkey-people cry, Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer, Through the jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh- He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear ! Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade, And the whisper spreads and widens far and near; And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now- He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear !   Ere the moon has climbed the mountain, ere the rocks are ribbed with light, when the downward-dipping tails are dank and drear, Comes a breathing hard behind thee, snuffle-snuffle through the night- It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear ! On thy knees and draw thy bow; bid the shrilling arrow go; In the empty mocking thicket plunge thy spear; But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left thy cheek- It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear !

When the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the slivered pine trees fall, When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer; Through the trumpets of the thunder rings a voice more loud than all- It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear ! Now the spates are banked and deep' now the footless boulders leap; Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear, But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against thy side Hammers : Fear, O Little Hunter- this is Fear !

The Law of the Jungle

You can work it out by fractions or by simple Rule of Three, But the way of Tweedle-dum is not the way of Tweedle-dee. You can twist it, you can turn it, you can play it till you drop, But the way of Pilly-Winky's not the way of Winkie-Pop !

Spring Running

Man goes to Man ! Cry the challenge through the jungle ! He that was our brother goes away. Hear now, and judge, O ye people of the jungle, Answer, who shall turn him - who shall stay ?

Man goes to Man ! He is weeping in the jungle. He that was our brother sorrows sore ! Man goes to Man ! (Oh we loved him in the jungle !) To the man-trail where we may not follow more.

Wood and water, wind and tree, Jungle-favour go with thee !


Duration:ca 15 min
Lyrics:Rudyard Kipling : *The Jungle Books* (1894-1895)
Instruments:Medium Voice