Our life is but a dream


Our life is but a dream - (2013)     

Bertram Kottmann - after a text by Johann Gottfried Herder

for medium voice and piano


Our life is but a dream,

  and dreaming
  we live down here.
Like shadows on the swell

  we're streaming and disappear.
And measure our laboured striding
  by time and space,

  not knowing that
  we e'er abide in


Translation from German to English copyright © 2007 by Bertram Kottmann, BKottmannt-online.de, printed on this website with kind permission.

Please contact the copyright-holder when requesting permission to reprint.

1 page, circa 1' 30"


Bertram Kottmann sent me the image of a path extending out into the distance, its end unseen. A fine metaphor for the text which is his reinterpretation of Ein Traum ist unser Leben by Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803).



The 4-note chord alterations are a succession, as much as a progression in Schoenberg's sense of the terms. A major seven yields to the diminished minor seven in first inversion, spinning out from this into several tonal regions related to the key. Phrase of two measures' duration gently underpin the vocal line, meant to be rubato and not strict. A short sixteen bars long, this miniature gazes out at eternity.




The score for Our life is but a dream 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.


Our life is but a dream