Rechtfertigung - (2018)     

Hugo von Hofmannsthal

for soprano and piano


So wie der Wandrer, der durch manch Verhau,
Manch blühend Dickicht seinen Weg gefunden:
Zerrißne Ranken haben ihn umwunden,
Auf Haar und Schläfen glänzt der frische Tau,

Und um ihn webt ein Duft noch viele Stunden
Wie Frühlingsgären und wie Ätherblau –:
So trägt der Dichter unbewußt zur Schau
Was schweigsam oft ein Freundesherz empfunden.

Er raubt es nicht, es kom mt ihm zugeflogen
Wie Tau aus Blütenkelchen sich ergießt;
Der Blumen Zutraun hat er nicht betrogen,

Weil sichs ihm selber, unbegehrt, erschließt:
Den Tropfen hat ein Sehnen hingezogen,
Wo Bach zum Strom, und Strom zum Meere fließt.

4 pages, circa 4' 00"



So, the wanderer, through entanglements and
Many flowering thickets, has found his way:
Torn tendrils have wounded him,
While fresh dew glistens on his hair and temples,

And around him a fragrance still weaves many hours
Like ripening spring and like ether blue -:
Thus, the poet unconsciously grasps
What a friend's heart has often felt.

He does not purloin it, rather it comes to him
As a dew drop pours out of the calyx;
He did not tease the bloom,

Because in revealing itself to him, unwanted,
The drop has drawn into a longing,
Where a rivulet flows to the stream, then river to the sea.


unrhymed paraphrase of the composer

Copyright © 2018   Gary Bachlund




 This sonnet speaks of the poet who harvests from images, impressions and experience. One notes that such harvest have their cost, and yet when the smallest "drop" can be poured out, adding its voice to the stream which is after all the flood of culture and art, that sea in which we all may immerse ourselves and on which we may travel to distant lands as well as to home.


The 9/8 throughout is sometimes expressed as three dotted quarters in the more expected fashion, and then as the voice enters over the two-measures gestures and their slow harmonic rhythm, the three alters to an unequal four, three quarters and one dotted quarter. Each arch in the accompaniment is marked at its end with a molto ritardando, as to linger a moment more on the static harmony before its change.





The score for Rechtfertigung 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.