Die Sternklare

Complete Work Title: 

Die Sternklare (The Starry Woman) — character study after Elias Canetti

Performance Medium: 

solo percussion: vibraphone, crotales (2 octaves), 2 tam-tams, 2 Thai gongs, 2 suspended cymbals, glass wind chimes.




to Christopher Deane

Date Composed: 

May - June 2006

Additional Information: 
  • Included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).
  • This work is part of a collection of solo works based on character studies in Elias Canetti's book Der Ohrenzeuge (Earwitness).
  • Solo works from this collection may be programmed as a set, or in conjunction with the semi-improvisational, open-form works Canetti-menagerie (for five to eight instruments) or Conversations (for two to four instruments), which use these works as source material for improvisational interplay.

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 14 May 2023; Constellation Chicago (Chicago, IL).
  • 9 March 2023; Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL)

    Gregory Beyer, percussion

  • 8 March 2019; Texas A&M University, Commerce (Commerce, TX)
  • 7 March 2019; University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

    Jacob Garcia, percussion

  • 23 October 2018; James Madison University Concert Hall (Harrisonburg, VA) — JMU Contemporary Music Festival

    Laurel Black, percussion

  • 11 April 2018; Moody Performance Hall (Dallas, TX)

    Jacob Garcia, percussion

  • 19 September 2016; University of North Texas (Denton, TX)

    Christopher Deane, percussion

  • 8 August 2015; Studio 101 (Houston, TX) — Texas New Music Ensemble program
  • 1 May 2015; University of North Texas (Denton, TX)

    Jacob Garcia, percussion

  • 19 February 2014; broadcast on "Martian Gardens” with Max Shea, WMUA-FM (Amhurst, MA)
  • 16 February 2014; broadcast on "Martian Gardens” with Max Shea, WMUA-FM (Amhurst, MA)
  • 6 March 2011; Voices of Change Salon Concert (Dallas, TX)
  • 14 November 2009; Indiana Convention Center (Indianapolis, IN) — 2009 Percussive Arts Society International Convention
  • 6 November 2009; Highland Park Presbyterian Church (Dallas, TX) — Dallas Festival of Modern Music
  • 20 October 2009; University of North Texas (Denton, TX)
  • 20 February 2007; University of North Texas (Denton, TX) [premiere]

    Christopher Deane, percussion

Program Notes: 

Die Sternklare (The Starry Woman) is the ninth in a series of short works for solo instrument based upon characters in Der Ohrenzeuge: Fünfzig Charaktere (Earwitness: Fifty Characters), written in 1974 by the Bulgarian-born British-Austrian novelist Elias Canetti (1905-1994). Canetti’s distinctive studies incorporate poetic imagery, singular insights, and unabashed wordplay to create fifty ironic paradigms of human behavior. This collection, begun in 1997, was inspired by the vividly surreal depictions of Canetti’s characters, and comprises twenty-two solo works to date—composed for familiar instruments such as violin, guitar, piano, and trombone, as well as less common instruments such as ocarina, cimbalom, glass harmonica, and carillon.  In Canetti's depiction of this character, the Starry Woman "shuns the crude light of the sun. [She] sighs in relief when the sun is gone and she wishes it would never come again... Her skin is as pure as the light of the sun. But she does not realize this in herself. Her only mirror is the illuminated night, and this mirror consists of so many dots that it has no unity."

Die Sternklare was completed in June of 2006 and composed for percussionist Christopher Deane, who first performed the work at the University of North Texas on 20 February 2007. It is included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).