Fünf Mark


Fünf Mark - (2013)    


for bass or baritone and piano


In meiner Straße nachts steht eine
(Immer dieselbe) Lausekleine,
Und grüßt mich krächzend mit Geplärr:
Fünf Mark, mein Herr, fünf Mark, mein Herr.

Ich hab es mir mild verbeten,
Da ist sie näher nur getreten,
Ihr dürrer Leib schwoll schattengroß:
Fünf Mark ja bloß, fünf Mark ja bloß.

Grüß Gott –, der Leichenwagen rumpelt,
Ihr Schatz und eine Vettel humpelt
Stier gröhlend hinter ihrem Sarg:
Fünf Mark, mein Herr, mein Herr, fünf Mark.

Man schmiß sie in die Armenerde,
Ihr Schatz gab ihr als Reisezehrde
Zur Fahrt ins Dunkel in den Sarg:
Fünf Mark, mein Herr, mein Herr, fünf Mark,

Fünf funkelnagelneue Mark....

5 pages, circa 4' 15"



At night when walking up my street
The same disheveled woman comes,
Greeting me with that grating voice:
Five marks, my price, five marks, for you.

I had asked her gently -- stay away,
For this she would closer come;
Her gaunt body cast its swollen shadow:
Yes, just five marks, so only five marks.

My God! - the hearse, it clatters by,
Her sweetie and a hag limping along,
Bawling like cows behind her coffin:
Five marks, kind sir, kind sir, five marks.

They dump her into the waiting earth,
Her sweetheart providing the send off --
A journey into that coffined darkness:
Five marks, we ask, we ask five marks,

Five sparkling new marks .... 


For other settings of Klabund's texts, click here.



The four strophes are vignettes from across a life. They are set with accompaniments gestures slightly changed, while the harmonic language and successions vary little, commenting on the foregone conclusion of this life story and end. The coda repeats the plea for money again and again, ending with the poet's ironic twist for "Fünf funkelnagelneue Mark."



The score for Fünf Mark 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.


Fünf Mark