An Gott


An Gott - (2012)    

Else Lasker-Schüler

for mezzo soprano and piano


Du wehrst den guten und den bösen Sternen nicht;
All ihre Launen strömen.
In meiner Stirne schmerzt die Furche,
Die tiefe Krone mit dem düsteren Licht.

Und meine Welt ist still-
Du wehrtest meiner Laune nicht.
Gott, wo bist du?

Ich möchte nah an deinem Herzen lauschen,
Mit deiner fernsten Nähe mich vertauschen,
Wenn goldverklärt in deinem Reich
Aus tausendseligem Licht
Alle die guten und bösen Brunnen rauschen.

3 pages, circa 3' 00"

Else Lasker-Schüler


You uphold not the good alone nor the ill-starred;
All shine by your will.
My brow's furrows ache,
From this heavy crown of gloom-dark light.

And my world is still --
You do not uphold this, my mood.
God, where are you?

I would listen near to your heart,
And exchange distance for presence,
Where golden transfiguration in your kingdom
Lit by thousands of sacred lights
Roars in the fountains of both good and evil.


paraphrase by the composer



The text was first published in Meine Wunder, Verlag der Weißen Bücher Leipzig (1914). For other song settings of Lasker-Schüler's texts, click here.


The same theological conundrum of good and evil as ever and always is here expressed by the poet as she addresses God. A set of gestures moves as a succession more than progression, ion Schoenberg's distinction between these terms. From the statement declaring essentially the oneness of God in which all things are -- including instances of "bösen Sternen" in her metaphor  -- a second slightly agitato tempo change pushes forward the question and her overtly stated wish for nearness, which we may see also as deeper understanding. The musical gesture which sets "Gott, wo bist du?" is echoed wordlessly in the accompaniment at its place in the text setting, and again at the final cadence.



The score for An Gott 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.


An Gott