Der genügsame Liebhaber - (2009)
for medium voice and piano
Meine Freundin hat eine schwarze Katze
Mit weichem knisterndem Sammetfell,
Und ich, ich hab' eine blitzblanke Glatze,
Blitzblank und glatt und silberhell.
Meine Freundin gehört zu den üppigen Frauen,
Sie liegt auf dem Divan das ganze Jahr,
Beschäftigt das Fell ihrer Katze zu krauen,
Mein Gott ihr behagt halt das sammtweiche Haar.
Und komm' ich am Abend die Freundin besuchen,
So liegt die Mieze im Schoße bei ihr,
Und nascht mit ihr von dem Honigkuchen
Und schauert, wenn ich leise ihr Haar berühr.
Und will ich mal zärtlich tun mit dem Schatze,
Und daß sie mir auch einmal "Eitschi" macht,
Dann stülp' ich die Katze auf meine Glatze,
Dann streichelt die Freundin die Katze und lacht.
[ 4 pages, circa 2' 40" ]
Hugo Salus (1866-1929) was born to a Jewish professional family in the Bohemia, in Ceská Lípa. He studied medicine in Prague and practiced as gynecologist. In parallel he wrote several collection of poetry, tales and complete novels as a part of the German literature movement in Prague, now the Czech Republic. He took a political stance known as "extreme assimilation" and wrote criticisms of a young and growing Zionist tendency in middle Europe spawned by European anti-Semitism. A young Rainer Maria Rilke became his friend, as well as other leading writers and poets of that generation.
The Contented Suitor
My sweet girlfriend has a black pussy-cat
With soft fur, rustling and velvety,
And I, I have a shiny bald spot,
Shiny and slick and silvery.
My girlfriend's a lady of the voluptuous sort,
She lies on the sofa the whole year round,
Quite busily stroking the cat's fur for sport,
My God, how she dotes on that soft furry mound.
And when I at evening a visit make,
Then I hear the cat on her lap loudly purr,
While nibbling with her from the honey cake,
It trembles whenever I stroke its fur.
And if I desire to cares my darling
So that she might say "kitchie koo" to me,
Then I place the pussy upon my bald spot
So my girlfriend then pets it and laughs with glee
Translation copyright © 2003 by Martha Elliott, reproduced with kind permission
Ms. Elliott's translations may also be found at The Lied and Art Songs Text Page.
The setting is of four somewhat similar verses, though the first and third are noted as and second and fourth as . The large harmonic motive for the setting is the simple relation between the tonic C major and its lower neighbor, B major, as the accompaniment and vocal line move back and forth between them. In Schoenberg's parlance, a harmonic "succession" rather than a harmonic progression.
The opposing texture for the second and fourth verses includes the supertonic, which shares its major third with B major while arguing as to the D in both chords. One notes that Salus' choice of words is pointed here, for the title suggests a "lover" while the choice of word in the body of the text is consistently "friend." The comic image of essentially using the "friend's" cat as toupee could have several interpretive directions with which the performers might wish to play.
The score for Der genügsame Liebhaber 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 genügsame Liebhaber