Elses Liebeslieder -
for mezzo soprano and piano
Ralph-Robert Lichterfeld gewidmet
i. - Eros
O, ich liebte ihn
Lag vor seinen Knie’n
Und klagte Eros
O, ich liebte ihn fassungslos.
Wie eine Sommernacht
Sank mein Kopf
Blutschwarz auf seinen Schoss
Und meine Arme umloderten ihn.
Nie schürte sich so mein Blut zu Bränden,
Gab mein Leben hin seinen Händen,
Und erhob mich aus schwerem Dämmerweh.
Und alle Sonnen sangen Feuerlieder
Und meine Glieder
Deine Augen legen
sich in meine Augen
Und nie war mein Leben so in Banden,
Nie hat es so tief in Dir gestanden
Es so wehrlos tief.
Und unter Deinen schattigen Träumen
Trinkt mein Anemonenherz den Wind zur Nachtzeit,
Und ich wandle blühend durch die Gärten
Deiner stillen Einsamkeit.
Laß die kleinen Sterne stehn,
Lenzseits winken junge Matten
Meiner Welten, die nichts wissen vom Geschehn.
Und wir wollen unter Pinien
Heimlich beide umschlungen gehn,
In die blaue Allmacht sehn.
Steigen Schlummer auf aus Farben.
Und von roten Abendlinien
Und verzückte Arabesken.
iv. - Ein
Aus goldenem Odem
Erschufen uns Himmel.
O, wie wir uns lieben ...
Vögel werden Knospen an den Ästen,
Und Rosen flattern auf.
Immer suche ich nach deinen Lippen
Hinter tausend Küssen.
Eine Nacht aus Gold,
Sterne aus Nacht ...
Niemand sieht uns.
Kommt das Licht mit dem Grün,
Nur unsere Schultern spielen noch wie Falter.
pages, circa 9' 00"
who poet Gottfried Benn stated was in that time "Germany’s greatest lyric
poet," fled Berlin, emigrated to Switzerland in 1933 after the National
Socialists came into government, and in 1940 she emigrated to Jerusalem, in
that time called Palestine, as Israel as a nation had not been founded. In
Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century, she was a part of the avant
garde literary circle, and was associated with the Expressionist journal,
Der Sturm. In that time before she fled Germany, she moved among writers
and poets who published in that journal, as well as graphic artists whose
works were displayed at a gallery associated with Der Sturm, and
included legendary names as we think of them today. The gallery closed in
1924, and the journal ceased publication in 1933, as many creative artists
One reads: "By the time Else Lasker-Schüler left Germany, in 1933, she was
64 years old and had the bulk of her work behind her. It is both sad and
ironic, that even after she left, her tires to Germany remained strong. "Immer
denke ich an Deutschland, das ich so liebe," she wrote to a friend from
Switzerland. In her entire adult life, she never wrote in any language but
German (unless you count the make-believe language she called 'mystical
asiatic' into which she translated a few of her own poems, as for example 'Wakan
liachad abtal,' which sounds suspiciously like mock Hebrew. ...In her
lifetime, only two volumes of her work were published outside of Germany,
the prose volume, Das Hebräerland, a series of impressions loosely based on
her first trip to Palestine, appeared in Switzerland in 1937, and her last
group of poems, Mein blaues Klavier, was published in Palestine in 1943.
This volume bears, what was, at that time, a bizarre, if not shocking,
dedication, coming from a German-Jewish refugee living in Palestine, "Meinen
unvergesslichen Freunden und Freundinnen in den Städten Deutschlands und
denen, die wie ich vertrieben und nun zerstreut in der Welt, in Treue!" In
"Else Lasker-Schüler: a German-Jewish poet in exile," by Evelyn Torton Beck,
University of Wisconsin, 1971.
These settings were composed in Berlin, which I still take to be Lasker-Schüler's
Berlin, a place of continuing creativity and even salvation in spite of its
few years fallen to the evils of National Socialism, and thereafter for a
time, Soviet Socialism.
For mezzo soprano (or alto) the first setting in rushes forward in 6/8 as the voice opens, declaring
"Oh, I loved him endlessly! Laid before his knees and pled to Eros of my
longing," as tonal areas shift energetically. The seventh serves in
melodic and harmonic importance, as the final cadence and segue to the
second setting relate.
The second setting breaks the intial mood of the cycle, with its static
harmony underpinning the melody above. Reference to the tonal areas of the
opening song explain the second strophe's harmonic shift.
The third adopts the final cadence of the second, now clearly in a secondary
major to the overall cycle. This more lyrical 6/8 echoes the first in a more
relaxed tempo and mood, as the text tells, "Let the little stars stand, as
springtime beckons with beds for youth...." .
The fourth races with enthusiasm, as the voice rhapsodizes, "Of golden
breath heaven made us. Oh, how we love each other ..." The simple form, ABAB,
allows form to mirror the notation of the text.
settings of Lasker-Schüler texts,
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 art song score.