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Hymns to the Night

  • Großer Sendesaal des rbb 8-14 Masurenallee Berlin, 14057 (map)
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Featuring Eclectic Voices
Conductor: Scott Stroman
Soprano: Yuka Yanagihra
Soprano: Nicole Tibbels
Alto: Heather Cairncross
Piano/Celeste: Antonis Anissegos

Kostić: Hymns to the Night
Kostić: Song of Songs

Song of Songs

Song of Songs is a vocal/instrumental piece for two vocal soloists, percussions, mixed choir and string ensemble. It had a world premiere in Covent Garden in March 2010. Inspired by and composed on the text of the old testament poem by the same title written by King Solomon more than two thousand years ago, the composer conceived this work to be performed in five old languages, which are: Hebrew, Old Greek, Latin, Old Slavic and Old English.

With this multi-lingual performance the composer wants to express his desire for not only making a musical, but an overall cultural statement as well. The idea was to overcome any musical restrictions that may occur while only using one translation, for maintaining a certain unrestricted flow of melody as well. And, on the other hand, to have the opportunity to use the quality and richness of these specific languages by transporting them into a certain musical context. It is meant to bring these old languages, not spoken today, back into the minds of the listener, and reflect upon the common heritages of different world cultures and traditions, and how they influenced and enriched each other.

“In the first-century Palestine ‘Song of Songs‘ was sung in taverns, up to the Middle Ages, when it also became a subject of liturgy in monasteries and convents. The poem had this quality to transcend from sensual to spiritual and back again, without losing it’s essential purity and beauty, which is still mind-blowing.”

Aleksandar Kostić

We feel that, while telling this ancient story about love, the goal of this composition is to celebrate cosmopolitanism by using the universal languages of music and poetry.

“A voyage through language, life and love, King Solomon’s masterpiece has journeyed from its Hebrew origins, across ancient languages no longer spoken, to the languages of our present. Music is timeless and receptive to every emotion, feeling and thought. With music I try to communicate my thought on the great Song of Songs.”

Aleksandar Kostić

Hymns to the Night

Hymns to the Night is the new composition by Aleksandar Kostić, based upon a poem by one of the first German romantics, Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg). Partly written in prose and partly as a poem, this philosophical-lyrical work is constantly asking profound questions about the human existence and the world that surrounds us since the beginning of time, between visible and invisible, between day and night.

Driven by the love for his late fiancée, Friedrich von Hardenberg embarks on a mystical voyage through night and its scenery. The destination of his nocturnal journey is to be reunited with his love. The diary, he left behind, about this voyage became “Hymns to the Night”. Today this text by Novalis is considered to be the climax of his lyrical work and the most important poetry of Germany’s early romantic period.

“… there must be many words that I do not know, if I only knew more, I would be able to comprehend still more easily, once I loved dancing, now I would rather think of the music.”


“Duality in form, between prose and poetry, as well as the duality of the world depicted in work by Novalis is something that is at same time very challenging and inspirational for me while being in the process of finding it’s musical correspondent. It was obvious from the beginning that every uniformity is to be avoided and that some barriers of musical form and genre will have to be broken.

There is a fine line where ‚Song of Songs‘ and ‚Hymns to the Night‘ meet. On the one hand as part of the scripture that is the spiritual foundation of our world, telling us a lot about our sensual nature, and on the other hand that it opens the door of spiritual through to our sensuousness. Both on their quest of love and in search of the eternal.”

Aleksandar Kostić

Aleksandar Kostić

Born 1973 in Belgrade, Serbia, and based in Berlin, composer Aleksandar Kostić has been involved in music from an early age. His engagement with both classical and contemporary works carries forward influences from European, traditional and spiritual music. He was developing his compositional skills under guidance and supervision of his mentor and one of the first Serbian female composers D.M.A. Mirjana Sistek Djordjević (1935-2017). The first public performance of his work was in 1999 when his symphonic suite ‘Deus Absconditus’ was premiered in Belgrade. Later, this composition was recorded with the Serbian Symphonic Radio Orchestra to be published by Serbian National Record company PGP-RTS, in 2004. His vocal – instrumental, piece ‘Song of Songs‘, composed on the lyrics of the old testament poem by the King Solomon that goes by the same name, had its world premiere in the Actor’s Church (Covent Garden) London in March 2010.

Scott Stroman

American-born, London-based eclectic composer/conductor/performer. Director of London Jazz Orchestra, London’s Eclectic Voices choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra Renga Ensemble. His work ranges from conducting Kurt Weill’s stage works to arranging and conducting for Phil Collins. He has directed and presented many combined performance and education series and programs on the music of Bach, Haydn, Dvorak, Stravinsky, Bartok, John Adams, Lutoslawski, Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, gospel music, African music, Brazilian music and that of many other traditions and composers. Scott Stroman performed with some of the greats in jazz and world music including Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Wheeler, Youssou N’Dour, Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham. Professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.