Die Unterhose - (2015)    

Christian Morgenstern

soprano and piano


Heilig ist die Unterhose,
wenn sie sich in Sonn' und Wind,
frei von ihrem Alltagslose,
auf ihr wahres Selbst besinnt.

Fröhlich ledig der Blamage
steter Souterränität,
wirkt am Seil sie als Staffage,
wie ein Segel leicht gebläht.

Keinen Tropus ihr zum Ruhme
spart des Malers Kompetenz,
preist sie seine treuste Blume
Sommer, Winter, Herbst und Lenz.

3 pages, circa 2' 40"

"Die Unterhose"

Wilhelm Höpfner (1899-1968)
Winckelmann-Museum Stendal


 Sainted is the underwear
When aloft in sun and wind;
When freed from daily wear and tear,
It ruminates, clothespinned.

Happily cleansed of dark disgrace
As marks its subterranean fate,
It waves, decorously hung in space,
A billowing sail, to ventilate.

No mere trope might tell its power
Save what painterly skills can bring,
Which exalt this most faithful flower,
Summer, winter, autumn and spring.


Copyright © Gary Bachlund  All international rights reserved.


 The comical image of "long johns" hanging on a line to dry is authored, though the author says "no mere trope" well serves. In fact, Höpfner's pictorial version as above and after Morgenstern's "trope" is founded on the author's humorous vision.   In hymn-like fashion, the three strophes are set for the voice, as the accompaniment begins in the lowest range of the piano and for each verse rises an octave, becoming more active in the interludes. The up and down gestures in the right hand are simply two converging chromatic lines leading to the dominant. For other settings of Morgenstern's texts, click here.




The score for Die Unterhose 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.


Die Unterhose