Erotisches Variété - (2012)
for tenor and piano
Auf offner Straße in der Nacht
Entkleidet sich ein Kneipenwirt.
Ein Ingenieur ist aufgebracht,
Der sich bei seinem Weib verirrt.
Nach gleichgesinnten Viechern schielt
Ein homosexueller Hund.
Ein Greis, der mit sich selber spielt,
Merkt: Allzuviel ist ungesund.
In schmutzig grüner Tunke hockt
Ein blauer Syphilitiker.
Ein Boxer bebt. Ein Baby bockt.
Verstiert fault ein Zylinderherr.
Ein Auto bringt ein Fräulein um.
Ein Junge bricht ein Mädchen an.
Verbittert ist ein Mensch. Warum?
Weil er nicht coitieren kann.
3 Pages, circa 2' 00"
Night time in the middle of a street:
A landlord of a pub undresses.
An engineer appears deeply downbeat,
After straying from his wife's caresses.
After a like-minded rutting bastard
Ogles a dog of the queerest kind.
Notes an old man, wanking while plastered,
Too much will make you go blind.
Squatting in vomitus, green and thick,
Is a drunken syphilitic squatter .
A boxer shakes. A baby gets sick.
Stares an upper-crust, top-hatted rotter.
A young woman is killed by a car racing by.
A girl is thrashed by an toff.
Embittered is a man. But why?
Because though trying he just can't get off.
Rhymed paraphrase by the composer
Copyright 2012 Gary Bachlund All international rights reserved.
For more on this Expressionist poet and his dark view of the world in a time when such a perspective foretold World War I, see my setting of his poem, Die Dämmerung.
On a societal note, one sees images such as these reported in the news of the day from a variety of cities and from the vantage point of several political outlooks. "Popular" culture proves as it proved before to be popular, bawdy and ultimately and often sad. He stated, "The only solace: be sad! If sadness becomes despair: be grotesque! Be a clown, trying to find one's amusement by recognizing that existence consists of sheer brutal and shabby strokes."
The setting is divided according to the stanzas of the poem, the introduction and each interlude in 2/4 time. The strophes are ordered in an ABAB form, with tonal center of the second a tone lower than the first. The setting ends with the "punch line," and for this no ritardando is notated or wished. Such a dark picture of a subculture is painted in polytonal shades and shifting harmonies.
The score for Erotisches Variété 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.