Ob ich dich liebe

 

 

Ob ich dich liebe - (2009)    

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

for medium voice and piano


meiner Frau gewidmet

Ob ich dich liebe, weiß ich nicht.
Seh' ich nur einmal dein Gesicht,
Seh' dir in Auge nur einmal,
Frei wird mein Herz von aller Qual.
Gott weiß, wie mir so wohl geschicht!
Ob ich dich liebe, weiß ich nicht.

[ 3 pages, circa 1' 30" ]


Johann Wolfgang Goethe

 

How it is I love you, I do not know.
I see only once your face,
I look only once into your eyes,
And free is my heart from all cares.
God knows, why you were sent to me!
How it is I love you, I do not know.

 

 

The sentiment of this gentle text is one of being in love by reason of the beloved's face in particular, and acknowledging that the beloved is a particular gift from God. In the aggressively secular world of today, such romance might seem quaint and old-fashioned, but among the modern secularists is no compelling reason for the concept of romance itself much more than ego-driven physical gratification. For this Goethe reminds us from another age with the art of words that while time has passed, not all things have progressed as the merchandisers of modernity would pretend. I find this text remarkably new, and the modern secularist remarkably Neanderthal by comparison.

 

The setting is a simple flowing of one chord structure, the upper and low tones falling to rise again towards the inner "pedal." Only the cadential moments break from this constancy.

 

 

 

The poem is of six lines, while the structure of the setting fell into duple patterns of arches. For this the first and fourth lines -- wherein the conclusion of the poem lies -- reappear as lyric for the final sentiment, the fourth line ending the vocal line while the accompaniment plays on to its own gentle conclusion.

 

 

The score for Ob ich dich liebe 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.

 

Ob ich dich liebe