Six from Sevenoaks


Six from Sevenoaks - (2012)    

Bertram Kottmann

for medium voice and piano


On New Year's morn -
yesterday so far away
now in the dawn.
Up soared the owl -
a last bough waved
to hail a new day.
Later snow
buried the nightingale
and my hopes.
is a captive
guarded by you
and my love.
In the light of morn
I saw your body's shadow
lying on my bed.
He broke his silence
to pieces
to share it.

3 pages, circa 2' 30"


Bertram Kottmann retires shortly from a long career in education and teacher training for the state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as reviewer for the press. Active in adult education as well as creative writing, he is translator of many works into several languages, and most productive as one sees in the contributor listing of the The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive.


Sent with the ending wish, "All the best from Sevenoaks," were six Haiku-like poems. The texts above, each with its own distinct title, were a part of a New Year's greeting, and it occurred to set them together as one, the title a small whimsy of numbers and a name with numbers embedded. Sevenoaks is a small city in Kent, but this Sevenoaks is the small German hamlet of "Siebeneich," which lies near to the wine growing area of Germany. Kottmann writes of the area, that it is a writer's land: "Es ist Dichterland: Justinus Kerner in Weinsberg, Eduard Mörike in Cleversulzbach, Manfred Kyber in Löwenstein, Albrecht Goes in Langenbeutingen, u.s.w." And I add, Bertram Kottmann in Seibeneich.



A hushed opening adds the raised fourth to the C major tonic, and implies the arch in D major which follows in a marked poco agitato. Kottmann suggested a "klein Form," and this form is a set of gestures in C, then D and a return to C, C followed by D again, and a final more rhapsodic moment which cadences finally in E major. Time, as the turning of the year reminds, moves us "from and to." Time passes, as the text reminds, into a "yesterday so far away."



The score for 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.


Six from Sevenoaks