Mein blaues Klavier


Mein blaues Klavier - (2008)     

Else Lasker-Schüler

for medium voice and piano


Ich habe zu Hause ein blaues Klavier
Und kenne doch keine Note.

Es steht im Dunkel der Kellertür,
Seitdem die Welt verrohte.

Es spielten Sternenhände vier
-- Die Mondfrau sang im Boote --
Nun tanzen

This texts is under copyright and therefore not fully reproduced herein.

[ 4 pages, circa 4' 00" ]

Else Lasker-Schüler


I have at home a blue piano
and yet know no note.

It stands in darkness by the cellar door,
since the world has decayed.

It played four hands as of the stars,
-- the Moon-maiden sang in the boat --
Now dance the rats metallically.

Broken is the key board...
I mourn for the blue dead.

Ah, dear angel, open to me
-- I have eaten of bitter bread --
to the living me open the heaven's door --
even though it is disallowed.



Composed for barely more than an octave range, this dark setting relies on the sostenuto pedal blurring the accompaniment almost wholly throughout. The seeming G major region is an illusion, as lightly polytonal arpeggios support the opening melodic fragment, rising from F sharp to B flat and back again. 




As the repetitive accompaniment becomes busy behind the image of rats scurrying -- "dancing" -- around the piano's strings, the falling melody line again descends to F sharp. As the notion of mourning the dead comes, a seeming assertion of G major is washed away by the darker emphasis on F sharp and the polytonal structure of the opening is made more forceful by spacing and dynamics. After a rhapsodic interlude pointing towards "heaven's door," a reprise of the opening text and accompanying gestures end the song unsettled and withering quietly away.




The score for Mein blaues Klavier 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 and publisher. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Mein blaues Klavier