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Charriere Caroline The Spider V122

Caroline Charrière
The Spider

for mixed choir a cappella

  • Text/Lyrics: Emily Dickinson
  • Level: advanced
  • Languages: English
  • Duration: 4'15
  • Genre: contemporary
  • Series: Swiss Composers Series
  • Composed: 2007

Reference: V122
Choir score
(minimum 10 copies)


  • Published: 2021
  • Pages: 12
  • Publisher: Editions Bim

Audio samples

The Spider


Caroline Charrière

Caroline Charrière (1960-2018)

Born 1960 in Fribourg (Switzerland), Caroline Charrière has accomplished flute studies at the Lausanne Conservatory (with Pierre Wavre) and completed them with Aurèle Nicolet and at the Royal North... Read more

About The Spider

The Work

Caroline Charriere felt at home in the world of the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) and it is not by coincidence. Writing poems in secret was for Emily Dickinson, who lived in a strict puritan environment, an escape, a space of freedom where everything could be said ... without saying it.

The spider fascinates, disgusts, scares...

The spider spins its web, discreetly, inexorably, valiantly. Even if the housewife’s broom destroys its work in one go. What does it matter if the housewife does not see the play of light in the web? The spider has the power to capture light with its silver ball. Always. And again. Insensitively. Continuously. Without limit. It is therefore not surprising that this mysterious, fragile and unshakeable creature triggers contradictory feelings in us.

But how to translate into music the silent activity of the spider? Caroline Charrière confers to the spider a tight ambitus and a dense harmony, a calm and regular metrical framework coupled with nuances that vary between pianississimo and mezzopiano. Only the clear sound of the silver ball disturbs this hushed atmosphere. In her personal score, the composer has added by hand the indication very soft, very legato, without rhythm at the beginning of the score. Also in bars 31, 46 and 47, she imagines an interpretation detached from any rhythmic constraints. In pure contrast, at bar 34, when the light suddenly breaks through fortissimo into the secret world of the spider. We are at the paroxysm of the piece: this light, which Emily Dickinson feared in real life and which she knew so well how to render in her words. Caroline Charriere takes the metaphor of the poetess further.

The web has been destroyed by the housewife? The spider takes a malicious pleasure to cling to the thread that hangs, starting to dance, dance, completely detached from the vicissitudes of the world, in a movement of perfect freedom.

Irène Minder-Jeanneret


October 3, 2021 | Fribourg, Switzerland. Chœur de Chambre de l’Université de Fribourg, Pascal Mayer (Conducting).