Kind und Pfau

 

 

Kind und Pfau - (2009)    

Erich Kurt Mühsam

for soprano and piano


 

Im Mäntelchen mit viel Besatz
und seidener Kapotte,
im Spitzenkragen und Seidenlatz,
so steht hier die Charlotte.
Da kommt daher ein stolzer Pfau,
mit Federn, vielen hundert,
der sieht die kleine Menschenfrau, -
und beide steh'n verwundert.
Die Lotte beugt sich staundend vor,
der Pfau beugt sich zurücke
und spreizt den blauen Federflor; -
so kreuzen sich die Blicke.
"Was ist das für ein schönes Tier!"
so denken alle beide.
Er deucht ihr ganz von Golde schier,
sie deucht ihm ganz von Seide.
- Sie seh'n sich fast die Augen blind
am Kleid und an den Daunen -
und wenn sie nicht gegangen sind,
steh'n sie wohl noch und staunen.

[ 4 pages, circa 2' 40"]


Erich Kurt Mühsam

 

In a little coat with much frou-frou
and silken cloak atop,
in lace collar and silken bib,
thus stands here Charlotte.
And along came a proud peacock,
with feathers, hundreds of them,
who saw the little human female, --
And the both stood astounded.
Lotte bowed, astonished,
the peacock bowed back
and spread his blue bloom of feathers; -
And their eyes met.
"What a beautiful creature!"
So thought them both.
He thought her all of gold,
She thought him all of silk.
They were almost blinded
By the costume and by the downiness --
So they did not go away
But stood there a while, flabbergasted.

 

Paraphrase by gb

 

 

 

"Proud as a peacock" is a phrase to often capture an individual's internal "display of feathers," but Mühsam allows us to see ourselves through this young girl -- that "human female" -- so decorated and yet inexperienced enough to be amazed as is the "peacock" of human kind arrayed thusly. The notion of ornamentation in clothing is answered by trills, arpeggios and secco gestures opposing a lyric line. The use of the extreme upper and lower reaches of the piano begins this little vignette.

 

 

The long arpeggios characterize the amazement and suspension of time as the two characters face one another, their only comment, "What a beautiful creature!" The phrase is repeated twice, once for girl and once for the peacock.

 

 

The score for Kind und Pfau 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.

 

Kind und Pfau