Conqueror worm

’Conqueror worm’ is a piece for mezzo soprano soloist & 10 singers (3 sopranos, 3 altos, 2 tenors, 2 bass) written in 2012. The choir is the body and humanized part of the soloist who is sinking more & more into darkness. The choir is an echo and delay of her voice and thoughts. In the story ’Ligeia' by Edgar Allan Poe, she is dead but comes back with a message and for revenge; dark and powerful. The piece is also written in a version of the two last verses for soloist & chamber ensemble. 


'Conqueror worm' is a part of the chamber opera  "The Illuminated Traces of Ligeia”.


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Material to download:

Mezzo soprano & Choir:

Score (Verse 1-5)           Recording (Verse 1-3) (from concert in April -12; Helene Lang & freelance singers)


Mezzo soprano & Ensemble:

Score (Verse 4-5)     Recording (Verse 4-5) (from concert in April -13; Helene Hvass & Lydenskab)

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CONQUEROR WORM

Lo! ’t is a gala night

   Within the lonesome latter years!   

An angel throng, bewinged, bedight

   In veils, and drowned in tears,   

Sit in a theatre, to see

   A play of hopes and fears,

While the orchestra breathes fitfully   

   The music of the spheres.


Mimes, in the form of God on high,   

   Mutter and mumble low,

And hither and thither fly–

   Mere puppets they, who come and go   

At bidding of vast formless things

   That shift the scenery to and fro,

Flapping from out their Condor wings

   Invisible Wo!


That motley drama, –oh, be sure   

   It shall not be forgot!

With its Phantom chased for evermore   

   By a crowd that seize it not,

Through a circle that ever returneth in   

   To the self-same spot,

And much of Madness, and more of Sin,   

   And Horror the soul of the plot.


But see, amid the mimic rout,

   A crawling shape intrude!

A bloodred thing that writhes from out   

   The scenic solitude!

It writhes! –it writhes!– with mortal pangs   

The mimes become its food,

And seraphs sob at vermin fangs

   In human gore imbued.


Out, out,–are the lights– out all!   

   And, over each quivering form,

The curtain, a funeral pall,

   Comes down with the rush of a storm,   

While the angels, all pallid and wan,   

   Uprising, unveiling, affirm

That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”   

   And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.


Poem by Edgar Allan Poe from the novel ‘Ligeia’