One Bright Day in the Middle of the Night
medium voice and piano
bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
They turned their backs and faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot the other.
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a fool for their referee.
A mute eyewitness screamed with fright.
A cripple danced to see the sight.
A deaf policeman heard the noise.
He came and shot the two dead boys.
A paralyzed donkey passing by,
Kicked the copper in the eye,
And knocked him through a rubber wall,
Into a ditch and drowned them all.
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man. He saw it too.
pages, circa 1' 55" ]
the Nuremberg Chronicle
notion of the sun and moon side by side in centuries old, as are such
notions of the dead getting up, or the deaf hearing. Opposition of opposites
has been one foundation of humor, and this anonymous text -- merely one from
many alternative readings and remembrances over generations -- is
about the impossibility of opposites. In like manner, other nonsense poems
Lügenmärchen) feature many similar notions, such as the blind man
who sees. We amuse ourselves with impossibilities. A rather complete survey
of some of the many alternative texts is found at the The British Columbia
Folklore Society's site, one among many collecting variants and discussing
setting is starkly in F major, the slight development of initial themes
showing as variations when they recur. It is meant to be silly, an
accompaniment somewhat delicato as appropriate.
challenge by the speaker assures the audience in the distant mediant major
domain that all is "true." The setting ends with a simple scale downward,
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
Bright Day in the Middle of the Night