Vier Nonsens-lieder - (2016)    

Gustav Falke, Rudelsburg, Volksthümliches aus dem Königreich Sachsen, and from Machet auf das Tor

for soprano and piano or orchestra


i.   Kuh - Gustav Falke (1852-1916)

Eine Kuh, die saß im Schwalbennest
mit sieben jungen Ziegen,
sie feierten ihr Jubelfest
und fingen an zu fliegen.
Der Esel zog Pantoffeln an,
ist übers Haus geflogen.
Und wenn das nicht die Wahrheit ist,
so ist es doch gelogen.

ii.  An der Saale hellem Strande - Anonymer, Rudelsburg, gesammelt von F. G. Fesca. 1823.

An der Saale hellem Strande
stehen Burgen stolz und kühn.
Ihre Dächer sind zerfallen,
und der Wind streicht durch die Hallen,
Wolken ziehen d'rüber hin.

Zwar die Ritter sind verschwunden,
nimmer klingen Speer und Schild;
doch dem Wandersmann erscheinen
in den altbemoosten Steinen
oft Gestalten zart und mild.

Droben winken schöne Augen,
freundlich lacht manch roter Mund,
Wand'rer schaut wohl in die Ferne,
schaut in holder Augen Sterne,
Herz ist heiter und gesund.

Und der Wand'rer zieht von dannen
denn die Trennungsstunde ruft
und er singet Abschiedslieder.
Lebewohl tönt ihm hernieder.
Tücher wehen in der Luft.

iii.   Dunkel war's - Anonymer, Volksthümliches aus dem Königreich Sachsen, gesammelt von Oskar Dähnhardt, 1898.

Dunkel war's, der Mond schien helle,
schneebedeckt die grüne Flur,
als ein Wagen blitzesschnelle,
langsam um die Ecke fuhr.

Drinnen saßen stehend Leute,
schweigend ins Gespräch vertieft,
als ein totgeschoss'ner Hase
auf der Sandbank Schlittschuh lief.

Und ein blondgelockter Jüngling
mit kohlrabenschwarzem Haar
saß auf einer grünen Kiste,
die rot angestrichen war.


iv.   Oh! - Anonymer, in Machet auf das Tor, 1905.

Des Abends wenn ich früh aufsteh',
Des Morgens wenn ich zu Bette geh',
da krähen die Hühner, da gackert der Hahn,
da fängt das Korn zu dreschen an.

Die Magd, die steckt den Ofen ins Feuer,
die Frau, die schlägt drei Suppen in d' Eier.
Der Knecht, der kehrt mit der Stube den Besen
da sitzen die Erbsen, die Kinder zu lesen.

Oh, wie sind mir die Stiefel geschwollen
dass sie nicht in die Beine 'nein wollen!
Nimm drei Pfund Stiefel und schmiere das Fett
dann stell mir vor die Stiefel das Bett!

15 pages, circa 10' 15"

Gustave Falke


Those who have collected children's rhymes are quite like the more famous collectors of fairy tales. Of these, one author of these texts is known, but the texts amused me enough to set them for soprano. The lying poems and nonsense tales in rhyme have traditional melodies for children, but these are set for a concert audience. The rhymed paraphrases which follow are by the composer.


Copyright  © 2016 Gary Bachlund     All international rights reserved.



i.   Cow


A cow sat in a swallow's nest
with seven baby goats,
which cheered the day so blessed,
before away each one floats.
The donkey pulls on his pants
and too flies over the roof.
And if no truth is found, perchance,
Then these are lies, and you're the proof.


Major triads move about non-functionally in structurally functional ways. A melody line seems simple at the outset, its diatonic thirds reinforce the parallel triads shadowed at the twelfth. This is a second version, because I had set the text for the simple joy of it in another set of silly songs, Vier Unsinn-lieder .


ii.   In a hall of a seaside sandy bright

In a hall of a seaside sandy bright
stood castles proud and bold.
Fallen roofs recall their height;
through all, the winds blow cold.

'Tis sure the knights are vanished,
never strikes a spear on shield;
yet the rover, not one banished,
amid mossy stones of the battlefield
oft spies fine shapes, quite fine revealed.

Above, there beckon beauteous eyes,
as happy lips laugh, reddened red;
in the distance, the wanderer spies,
visions in the stars outspread;
for this, the heart is cheered, well fed.

And thus the wanderer heeds ere long,
as the parting hour gently calls,
and sings his lonely farewell song:
Be well -- intoned, as fade footfalls.
Banners wave from wind-swept walls.


The folk song character of the melodic line is broken by  flights of scales, as by punctuations of ninths across many octaves. Polytonal colors provide contrast away from the major tonic.



iii.   Dark it was


Dark it was, the moon shown bright,
and snow lay on this green-leaved sight,
as a coach in searing, lightning flight
crossed those woods like a snail affright.

In it stood those seated, deep
in conversation's still silent sweep,
as a shot-dead rabbit then did leap
to ice-skate on the dunes, asleep.

And a blond-headed youth so very fair
with coal black, raven black, blackened hair
sat on an all too green pillowed chair
which was quite covered in red with flair.

Nearby one of those crotchety dears
of no more than but sixteen years
holds a buttered roll on which he smears
Schmaltz-fattened, greasy elixirs.


The mirroring at the twelfth introduced in the first song is continued in this lyrical and long lined setting, the right hand of the accompaniment a twelfth above the left hand's gestures.





 iv.  Oh!


It's evening when I early rise,
It's morning when my bedtime sighs,
When crows the cock, when cackles the hen,
Self-threshes the grain in the threshing then.

The gal, who puts the oven in the fire,
The dame, whose three soups into one egg do gyre,
The guy, who spins the parlor with a broom
where sit the peas, in the kids' reading room.

Oh, how my boots are swollen too great,
Such that my legs won't go in of late!
Take three pound boots and slather with fat,
Then put my bed in front of where they're at!

 The diatonic lead of the vocal line is stamped throughout with major chords in root position defying the tonality in a whimsical manner. Coloratura ends the setting with repeated cried of "Oh!" which rise to a final, clipped high C.




The score for Vier Nonsens-lieder 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.


Vier Nonsens-lieder

Klavier Aufyug

Click on the graphics below for the full score and orchestra parts


Vier Nonsens-lieder

Orchestra score