Sechs Ritornelle in canonischen Weisen


Sechs Ritornelle in canonischen Weisen - (2011)    

Friedrich Rückert

for medium voice and piano


i. Die Rose

Die Rose stand im Tau,
es waren Perlen grau,
als Sonne sie beschienen,
wurden sie zu Rubinen.


ii. Die Fasten

Lasst Lautenspiel und Becherklang nicht rasten,
So lang es Zeit ist zu der Jugend Festen
Ist Fasching aus, so folgen dann die Fasten.


iii. Zerronnen

Blüt' oder Schnee!
Lust oder Weh!
Ein Windhauch schüttelt des Lebens Baum,
Zerronnen ist Frühlings- und Wintertraum!


iv. Trinklied

Gebt mir zu trinken!
Was in den Sternen steht, kann man nicht ändern,
Doch man vergisst es bei der Gläser blinken!


v. Geh' geschwind

Zürne nicht des Herbstes Wind,
Der die Rosen raubet,
Sondern Rosen geh' geschwind
Pflücken, eh' er schnaubet.


vi. Rostfarben

In Sommertagen
Rüste den Schlitten,
Und deinen Wagen
In Winters Mitten!

[ 5 pages, circa 3' 40" ]

Friedrich Rückert


Roses stood in dew this day,
As if they were glistening pearls of grey,
And as the sunlight rose and spread,
They glistened then like rubies red.


Cease not the lutes to play, the chalices ring,
So long as there is youth and youthful spring,
Carnival comes, that we follow and sing.


Blossoms or snow!
Joy, even woe!
A wind's breath shakes life's tree at last,
As dreams of winter and spring fly past!


Give me something to drink!
From the decree of the stars we cannot shrink,
But with sparkling glasses we need not think!


Rage not against the season's fall
To see the roses go,
But haste to pluck the roses, all
Before the wind begins to blow.


In summertime
Skates redden with rust,
And cheeks in winter
Redden as they must!


Haste then,
for it flies past.





The six texts are published as seemingly separate poems, each bearing a title, and yet the set is titled Six Ritornellos in a Canonic Fashion. For this I chose to employ the texts as a single lyric, with a true "little return" as curtain between the text settings. For this the ritornello theme comes in easy variations, and the text settings have some sort of canonic treatment to them. The first text setting shows its canon in the accompaniment, the top voice in canon with the bottom at the measure's distance and an octave apart.



The individual texts are set with contrasting textures and changing tonal regions, moving from C to B t0 E flat minor, then to major, then a return to C before a final strophe in E major.


The little drinking song has the canon at the distance of a half measure and an octave apart. Other settings involve lightly different counterpoint techniques. The last phrases in the song text are in fact two of Rückert's titles, intended to end the six ritornelli and canonic settings with a final statement of the temporary nature of life. "Geh' geschwind. Zerronnen."



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.


Sechs Ritornelle in canonischen Weisen