Eine ungenehme Überraschung - (2012)
medium voice and piano
Altgesell ist froh und lacht,
Weil ihm die erste Maß gebracht.
Der Stoff ist sehr zu loben,
Drum wird sofort der Krug gehoben.
Schlupp! rinnt das Bier durch seine Kehle
Auf einmal in die heiße Seele.
"Was ist denn das?" - denkt er erschreckt,
"Daß dieses so abscheulich schmeck?"
Da hat er es. O, Schreck und Graus!
Ha! welch abscheul'che, tote Maus!
Ja, ja! - Kaum will man sich erfreun,
So kommt gleich was Fatales drein!
pages, circa 1' 45"
Cartoon by Busch
old fellow chortles with happy cheer,
because he's brought a first liter of beer.
The brew is one most highly praised,
and very quickly his glass is raised.
Gulp! the beer goes down the hatch,
In expectation of a second batch.
"But what is this?" he cries in haste,
"This has the most obnoxious taste!"
At once 'twas clear the sickening cause --
A dead mouse worth a stomach-churning pause!
Ah yes, hardly will most any man rejoice,
Before he must suffer from his own awful choice.
rhymed paraphrase by the composer
Copyright 2012 © Gary Bachlund All
international rights reserved.
Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908) offered his readers many wonderful sketches and
cartoons, many illustrating his verses. For those interested, each couplet
received its own illustration which can be found on a number of sites
dedicated to Busch. This "unpleasant surprise" amuses me much, for its
specific details coupled to a lesson in life are unusual. Professor Roy
Travis' expression, "the indigestible tritone," came to mind when reading
the poem, for indeed the dead mouse is indigestible too. Against a tonic G
flat major, the C major triad argues for its specific dissonance.
Thereafter, simple parallel triads sidle about in half step relations.
end of the tale is a moral, from Busch's perspective. Several times the
"awful" choice is reprised, closing on a harmonically cluttered final
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
Eine ungenehme Überraschung