Sonett der Welt - (2018)     

Hugo von Hofmannsthal

for soprano and piano


Unser Leiden, unsre Wonnen
Spiegelt uns die Allnatur,
Ewig gilt es unsrer Spur,
Alles wird zum Gleichnisbronnen:

Erstes Grün der frischen Flur,
Mahnst an Neigung, zart begonnen,
Heißes Sengen reifer Sonnen,
Bist der Liebe Abglanz nur!

Schlingt sich um den Baum die Winde,
Denken wir an uns aufs neue,
Sehnen uns nach einer Treue,

Die uns fest und zärtlich binde ...
Und wir fühlen uns verwandt,
Wie wir unser Bild erkannt.

4 pages, circa 4' 00"


Our suffering, our delights
Are reflected as is nature's pleasure,
Eternally she counts our measure,
Everything our human parable writes:

The first green on the fresh fields,
The urge of inclinations, tenderly begun,
The hot singe under each full sun,
Are but reflections of what love yields!

The winds embrace the tree,
As we ponder ourselves anew,
Yearning for what's humanly true,

Which bind us firm and tenderly ...
And for this we are bound,
Recognizing our image in what is found.


rhymed paraphrase of the composer

Copyright © 2018   Gary Bachlund




The late Romanticism of the arts was marked by certain excess, as words, sounds and stories after the Enlightenment pulled in a less reasoned, more feeling-filled direction. This sonnet speaks to all stories as of us, from the anthropomorphic to the ideation of mixed imagery prior to the later games of surrealism, expressionism and nihilism which follow in quick succession. 


The sonnet purports of speak of the world -- our world as we see ourselves in it and as we see it in ourselves. The chromatic succession of chords expressed as arpeggios are stated over a lengthy pedal F sharp, in a slowly proceeding harmonic rhythm. The final "reality" of the B minor cadence after four minutes ends as the suspended upper neighbor falls into the minor chord. Though the vocal range is not extreme, the tessitura lies high, explaining my noting this as for soprano.




The score for Sonett der Welt 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.


Sonett der Welt