Pflück dieses Blümlein - (2015)
Bertram Kottmann, after Rabindranath Tagore
for high voice and piano
Pflück dieses Blümlein, nimm es, zögre nicht!
Sonst lässt den Kopf es hängen, fürchte ich,
wird auf die Erde sinken.
Wohl werd ich mich in deinem Blütenkranz nicht finden,
doch ehre es,
drück es, dass Schmerz es spürt aus deiner Hand und breche es.
Der Tag könnt’ enden, fürchte ich,
eh’s mir gewahr,
die Zeit zu opfern, könnt’ vergehn.
Ist auch des Blümleins Farbe blass
und schwach sein Duft,
so sei es trotzdem dir zu Diensten.
Pflück es zur Zeit.
Copyright © 2014 Bertram Kottmann
Used with permission
3 pages, circa 2' 25"
Rabindranath Tagore in 1912
Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not!
I fear lest it droop
and drop into the dust.
I may not find a place in thy garland,
but honour it
with a touch of pain from thy hand and pluck it.
I fear lest the day end
before I am aware,
and the time of offering go by.
Though its colour be not deep
and its smell be faint,
use this flower in thy service
and pluck it while there is time.
Poem number 6 in the 103 English language poems of Tagore's Gitanjali, first published in November 1912 by the India Society of London.
Bertram Kottmann has translated -- and to my view recreated in his translation -- the entire book, "Sangesopfer," which he sent me and from which I choose this text to set in the moment. The devotional aspect contains the opening imperative form of verb, followed by imagery and musing, yet ending with the same imperative. One muses on the day's end when a "time of offering" might go by, with the reminder to use this moment "while there is time."
For high voice, the opening gesture indicates an awareness of the shortness of time, our time. The gestures opens into clusters, and then yields to the text's beginning words, less rushed and squarely musing on the devotion. A center section contrasts, before the reprise of the opening rush and final imperative repeated for emphasis.
The score 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.
Pflück dieses Blümlein