Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund

 

 

Zirkus - (2011)    

Klabund

for baritone and piano


 

Die Puppen laden hölzerne Geschütze.
Schon sinkt
Im Korktod
Dummer August blaß.
Geschminkte Hände halten
Säbelblech.
Der Wangen rote Tulpen
Blühen faul.
Die Augen (sanfte Augen der Natur)
Entgleiten maulwurfunterwürfig in den dunklen
Erdbraunen Nachtgott.
Ihn ersah
Zum Ziel sich die bedeutende Strategin,
Die Liebe, die durch tausend Reifen sprang,
Auf Pferdchen äffchensamt geritten,
Den Himmel der Manege spaltete.
Vom Turmseil schwirrte
Der entthronte Künstler.
Der Kopf
Fraß blutend Sägespäne.
Und die Hände (die schönen Hände, die den Balancierstock schwangen,
        den silbernen, mit Löwenkopf gezierten),
Sie riefen Hilfe im Ertrinken,
Versinken unterm Sand.
Das Publikum
Schoß Beifall aus kanonengleichen Mäulern.

[ 4 pages, circa 2' 25" ]



Klabund

 

The marionettes carry big wooden guns.
In a cork death pratfalls
a silly, pale clown.
Painted hands wield
Sheet metal sabers.
Tulip red cheeks
Blossom lazily.
Eyes (soft eyes of nature)
slip away into the mole-fawning, earth-brown god of the dark night .
They saw
the brilliant tricksters obviously,
as love which sprang through a thousand hoops,
Riding with chimps atop ponies,
Split the canopy of the center ring.
From the high wire buzzed down
The trapeze artist.
The head
Buried itself bleeding in sawdust.
And the hands (the lovely hands, that swung the balance beam,
the silvered, decorated with a lion's head),
They gestured for help in their inundation,
Sunken into the sand.
The public
Sprang up approving with a cannonade of moans.

 

gb

 

 

The "circus" comes to town, bringing daredevil feats, clowns, pretense and the dangers of the high wire act. The orchestra strikes up an opening gesture and the "wrong note" oompah begins. The scene is set, as the characters are narrated into the scene. Comic "death" enters, in the darkness of the evening performance.

 

 

The high wire act goes wrong, as the trapeze star falls into the sawdust and sand as the "wrong note" harmonies become augmented. The crowd cheers, though moans in the same moment. The same "band" gesture tries to cover the moment, as it must have done other times before. Circus! The setting ends with a tonic dissonance non ritardando.

 

 

The score for Zirkus 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.

 

Zirkus