Auf ein altes Bild


Auf ein altes Bild - (2009)    
Eduard Mörike

for medium voice and piano


In grüner Landschaft Sommerflor,
Bei kühlem Wasser, Schilf, und Rohr,
Schau, wie das Knäblein Sündelos
Frei spielet auf der Jungfrau Schoss!
Und dort im Walde wonnesam,
Ach, grünet schon des Kreuzes Stamm!

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 20" ]

Eduard Möricke


In an old picture

In the green countryside in summer bloom,
Beside cool waters, reeds and canes,
See, how the blameless child
Plays free in the maiden's lap.
And there in those woods so sweet,
Oh, there grows already the wood of the cross.





Among the consequences of literary theory, the notion that one element of a drama suggests by association all the other elements in that same drama is instructive, per the investigations from Polti on dramatic situations through to Bettelheim on fairy tales through to Barthes on meaning across texts. Möricke infers the larger story from the smaller observation of a painting of Madonna and child, done in the European romantic tradition. The suggestion of the one story element implies all the story elements, and for this Möricke leaps elegantly in but a few lines from the picture to the consequence.


The form of the poem, three rhymes couplets, is broken slightly to repeat the last two lines in a two verse song form. These last two lines become the second "verse" and the repetition rises to the highest point of the vocal line and the greatest dynamic for the accompaniment.



2 pages, circa 2' 20" - an MP3 recording of a performance by Jacquelyn Matava, mezzo-soprano and N. Seth Nelson, piano, recorded on February 22, 2018 is here: 


The score 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.


Auf ein altes Bild