Ich und Du


Ich und Du - (2009)    

Friedrich Hebbel

for medium voice and piano


Wir träumten voneinander
Und sind davon erwacht,
Wir leben, um uns zu lieben,
Und sinken zurück in die Nacht.

Du tratst aus meinem Traume,
Aus deinem trat ich hervor,
Wir sterben, wenn sich eines
Im andern ganz verlor.

Auf einer Lilie zittern
Zwei Tropfen, rein und rund,
Zerfließen in eines und rollen
Hinab in des Kelches Grund.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 30" ]

Friedrich Hebbel


Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863), was a German poet and dramatist, born into and raised in poverty, who struggled through much of his life and was assisted at first by several women with whom he lived, and then by patrons, and finally through marriage to an actress and the publishing of his later works, after which the earlier too were published. He studies law, philosophy. history and literature, and was in many ways a visionary, whose dramas helped to alter the course of German literature by inclusion of psychological perspectives alongside the historical and contemporary. His Die Niebelungen Trilogie (1862), for example, portrayed the historical clash between Christian and pagan in the guise of myths, while his earlier plays dealt with the common tragedies of life. Weakened by rheumatic fever he died at fifty, being honored late in his life for his achievements.


I and You


We dreamed of one another
And are thereby awake,
We live, to love each other,
And sink back into the night.

You entered my dream,
As I had come from yours,
We die, when we might
The other fully lose.

On a lily tremble
Two droplets, pure and round,
Which flow one into another and roll
Into the lily blossom's cup.



The notion of two droplets coalescing into one gave rise to the musical gesture as in measure 2, in which two triads fold in by half steps, one towards the other. From this single gesture, the larger arch was constructed, and the setting composed itself thereby. The third verse breaks from the seeming form of repeated stanzas with a variation on the chromatic motion of the upper and lower triads, as they move in opposition, away from and falling back towards one another, much as couples -- "I and You" -- do in life. The tonality rests and finally cadences fully on F, and yet for the chromaticism, I opted to leave a key signature blank to more easily identify the non-harmonic tones, for at no time does the subdominant which would require the fourth as flat play a role in the setting.



The score for Ich und Du 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.


Ich und Du