Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


Volkslied - (2009)    

Joachim Ringelnatz

for medium voice and piano


Wenn ich zwei Vöglein wär,
Und auch vier Flügel hätt,
Flög die eine Hälfte zu dir.
Und die andere, die ging auch zu Bett,
Aber hier zu Haus bei mir.

Wenn ich einen Flügel hätt
Und gar kein Vöglein wär,
Verkaufte ich ihn dir
Und kaufte mir dafür ein Klavier.

Wenn ich kein Flügel wär
(Linker Flügel beim Militär)
Und auch keinen Vogel hätt,
Flög ich zu dir.
Da 's aber nicht kann sein,
Bleib ich im eignen Bett
Allein zu zwein.

[ 4 pages, circa 2' 00" ]

Joachim Ringelnatz


If I were two birds,
And had four wings,
Half of me would fly to you.
And the other half, he would go to bed
But here at my house.

If I had no bird at all
And was no bird myself,
I would buy a such a thing
By buying myself therefore a piano.

If I were no bird (or piano)
(and not flying for the Air Force)
And also if I had no bird (or piano),
I would fly to you.
Ah, but that cannot be,
So I shall stay in my own bed
Alone in my bed for two.


Paraphrase by the composer



This "folk song" is of course no folk song, in spite of the poet's title. This is partially a comic play on the word, "Flügel," which can refer to "wings" of various kinds, as well as grand pianos and window casements and a part and tactic of a sports team and still more; but the text is largely a somewhat romantic message to that "beloved" which best remain elsewhere. One might think of Greta Garbo's famous line, "I want to be let alone." But then again, Ringelnatz lets us know that his bed is, after all, "for two." And from this bed for two, the poet insists he will not "fly" to the supposed beloved for whom the message is intended. Why? That will be for each performer to decide.



The three strophes are of unequal length, and therefore antecedent phrases vary in a small development on the same theme. The final strophe repeats for added emphasis the last line, reminding us that the bed if "for two" by which one might suggest that "alone" -- in the sense of Garbo's "let alone" -- does not so much mean "alone" as "left alone" by the one two whom this message is sent.



The score for Volkslied 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.