Antwort - (2012)    

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

for medium voice and piano


Ein trunkner Dichter leerte
sein Glaß auf jedem Zug;
ihn warnte sein Gefährte:
Hör' auf! du hast genug.
Bereit von Stuhl zu sinken,
sprach der: du bist nicht klug!
zuviel kann man wohl trinken,
doch nie trinkt man genug.

3 pages, circa 2' 15"

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing


Response (of a drunken poet)

A drunken poet quickly drained
His glass, drawing this rebuff,
Being warned by his companion:
"Stop it! you've drunk enough."
Poised to topple out of his chair,
He cracked: "Clever, you're not!
One can always drink too much,
But enough can never be got."


rhymed paraphrase by the composer


Copyright 2012 © Gary Bachlund     All international rights reserved.



Schoenberg observes in his opening chapter of Structural Functions of Harmony that "A succession of chords may be functionless, neither expressing an unmistakable tonality nor requiring a definite continuation. Such successions are frequently used in descriptive music." After the small outburst, a succession of major four-note chords swings between C and E flat, then as a group move to the subdominant region for a moment. The vocal agrees and then once insistently disagrees, lingering on that A flat as the chord underlying sings out the major third, A. Our drunken poet and his companion created such dissonance, as Lessing tells so humorously.



The short poem is broken in two, with a refrain and its small variant being fashioned out of the last of each quatrain. The first, "Hör auf," is accompanied with another succession rooted on E flat, the harmonies changing only apparently as the bass line takes the "missing" note of the four note chord above it, a chord which does not change. The refrain yields back to the verse rooted on C. The second refrain answers back, with the drunken poet's lesson in the meaning of words, so reminiscent of the humor in Lewis Carroll's "Alice."




The score for Antwort 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.