Friede - (2010)
for high voice and piano
Die Bäume lauschen dem Regenbogen,
Tauquelle grünt in junge Stille,
Drei Lämmer weiden ihre Weiße,
Sanftbach schlürft Mädchen in sein Bad.
Rotsonne rollt sich abendnieder,
Flaumwolken ihr Traumfeuer sterben.
Dunkel über Flut und Flur.
Frosch-Wanderer springt großen Auges,
Die graue Wiese hüpft leis mit.
Im tiefen Brunnen klingen meine Sterne.
Der Heimwehwind weht gute Nacht.
[ 3 pages, circa 3' 15" ]
The trees heed the rainbow,
The dew's source greens the young silence,
Three lambs celebrate their whiteness,
Gentle streams celebrate bathing girls.
A red sun curls up in the the evening,
Downy clouds dissolve into their dreamy fever.
Darkness over tide and field.
Frog wanderers crack open great eyes,
The gray meadows gambol lightly.
In deep waters sounds my star.
The wind of homesickness waves good night.
Albert Ehrenstein (1886-1950) was an Austrian-born German Expressionist poet who was brought to notice a s well as notoriety in Karl Kraus' 1910 Die Fackel journal. Ehrenstein collaborated in a book with artist Oskar Kokoschka. Thereafter in his time in Berlin's expressionist circle of artists, he published in Der Sturm and Die Aktion. He favored orientalism for a while, fled National Socialism through Switzerland, and made his way to New York where he died.
The text is found in a German expressionist collection, Menschheitsdämmerung, first published in 1917 by Rowohlt. Though Ehrenstein was seen as a renegade poet ably using rude speech and images, this gentle text leapt out from among the many in that collection. The setting is gentle like the imagery of the text, parallel phrases of common-tone joined harmonies rustling behind the vocal line. The shape rises in tessitura as in dynamic at the notion of a "Traumfeuer" -- literally, a dream of fire as imagery for the sunset -- and the setting fades into the twilight and a "gute Nacht."
The score for Friede 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.