Errare humanum est -
medium voice and piano
Quitschfidel, mit roter Nase,
Seh ich Kunze gehn.
Warum bleibt er plötzlich mitten auf der Straße
Warum runzelt er die Brauen?
Warum mag er so entsetzlich
Schmerzlich himmelaufwärts schauen?
Warum wird er plötzlich
Oh, nun weiß ich was – – –
Er erblickt mich, winkt. – Fatal!
»Servus, armer Kunze! – eilt! – ein andermal!«
Kalte, falsche, rücksichtslose
Freunde hat die Unterhose.
paces, circa 1' 40"
err is human
Our buddy boy, with reddened nose,
Let's see just where he staggering goes.
Why does he stand in the street? To pose?
Perhaps that last nightcap overflows?
Why does he knit his brow so hard?
Why does he seem so pained
the lonely night to regard?
Why is he grown so suddenly pale?
Oh, yes, I know the tale ---
He sees me, waving. -- the embarrassment!
"Hey, Buddy boy! -- In a hurry! -- Hell-bent!
Cold and false, one sneeringly snorts:
"Some friends of yours have swiped your shorts."
rhymed paraphrase of the composer
bi-tonal coloring sits harmonically "here and there," major seven chords
outlined in opposing motion. The vocal line mediates somewhat. This is a
simple setting of similar gestures moving into other tonal centers and back
again, with a center section to create a minimal ABA form. An accelerando
at the end without ritard "rips off" this cynical look at life.
The nickname Kunze comes from the expression, Hinz und Kunz, comparable to
Tim, Dick and Harry. To err is indeed most human in Ringelnatz' rhyme, the
title coming from the Latin proverb, "Errare humanum est, sed in errare
perseverare diabolicum," attributed to Seneca. "To err is human, but to
persist in error is diabolical." One knows from experience unproductive
behaviors are often repeated, whatever the motivation.
The score for
Errare humanum est 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