Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



Prophezeiung - (2013)    

Alfred Lichtenstein

for baritone and piano


Einmal kommt - ich habe Zeichen -
Sterbesturm aus fernem Norden.
Überall stinkt es nach Leichen.
Es beginnt das große Morden.
Finster wird der Himmelsklumpen,
Sturmtod hebt die Klauentatzen.
Nieder stürzen alle Lumpen.
Mimen bersten. Mädchen platzen.
Polternd fallen Pferdeställe.
Keine Fliege kann sich retten.
Schöne homosexuelle
Männer kulllern aus den Betten.
Rissig werden Häuserwände.
Fische faulen in dem Flusse.
Alles nimmt ein ekles Ende.
Krächzend kippen Omnibusse.

4 Pages, circa 2' 45"

Alfred Lichtenstein


Some day--I have signs--a mortal storm
Is coming from the far north.
Everywhere is the smell of corpses.
The great killing begins.
The lump of sky grows dark,
Storm-death lifts its clawed paws;
All the lumps fall down,
Mimes burst. Girls explode.
Horses' stables crash to the ground.
Not a fly can ecape.
Handsome homosexuals roll
Out of their beds.
The walls of houses develop fissures.
Fish rot in the stream.
Everything meets its own disgusting end.
Groaning buses tip over.


from The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein



The dark vision of Lichtenstein speaks Cassandra-like to what became not only WWI, in which the poet lost his life, but subsequent wars around the world. Thus as with some other traditions of prophecy, a future is seen not by seeing into it so much as to seeing into what we already know and especially what we know of men and government. Other texts from other poets foresee in the same manner, such as Yeats' The Second Coming and Mühsam's Kracht der Topf in Scherben , wherein such visions are not hallucinations but rather truths from the past expected in some tomorrow.


This dissonant setting is a macabre waltz, the third beat often delayed stylistically, and the odd harmonic progression still functional in its tonal return. Mostly marked forte with a few instances of subsidence, it is meant to be brutal and stark.



The score for Prophezeiung 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.