Der Misanthrop


Der Misanthrop - (2012)    

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

for high voice and piano


Erst sitzt er eine Weile,
Die Stirn von Wolken frei;
Auf einmal k├Âmmt in Eile
Sein ganz Gesicht der Eule
Verzerrtem Ernste bei.

Sie fragen, was das sei,
Lieb' oder Langeweile?

Ach! sie sinds alle Zwei!

2 pages, circa 2' 00"

Johann Wolfgang Goethe


At first awhile sits he,
With calm, unruffled brow;
His features then I see,
Distorted hideously,--
An owl's they might be now.

What is it, askest thou?
Is't love, or is't ennui?

'Tis both at once, I vow.


This translation is from The Poems of Goethe, Translated in the original metres, by Edgar Alfred Bowring, London, April, 1853.



A cluster of seemingly unrelated chords but beginning with a C major seven brusquely introduces the vocal line. Chromatic gestures at the seventh suggest a tonality might become evident. The second impression of Goethe's misanthrope rises a fourth, from pretended calm to a distortion of it. A more tender repetition of these few themes paints the question about love and/or boredom. Major and minor colors cluster (C-over-E and C-minor-over-E-flat-minor) over the final pianissimo bass octaves.



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.


Der Misanthrop