Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


Zebaoth - (2010)     

Else Lasker-Schüler

for soprano and piano


Gott, ich liebe dich in deinem Rosenkleide,
Wenn du aus deinen Gärten trittst, Zebaoth.
O, du Gottjüngling,
Du Dichter,
Ich trinke einsam von deinen Düften.

Meine erste Blüte Blut sehnte sich nach dir,
So komme doch,
Du süßer Gott,
Du Gespiele Gott,
Deines Tores Gold schmiltzt an meiner Sehnsucht.

[ 3 pages, circa 2' 45" ]

Else Lasker-Schüler


God, I love you in your garb of roses,
When you step out from your garden, Lord of hosts.
O, you youthful God,
You poet,
Alone I drink from your fragrances.

My first blossom of blood yearns after you,
So come then,
You sweet God,
You lover God,
Your golden gateway dissolves away my longing.




The text is found in Hebräische Balladen, A. R. Meyer Verlag, 1913, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, and in subsequent anthologies which were published during a renaissance of poetry and publishing in Berlin of that era.  Zebaot and alternatively Zebaoth as transliterated by the poet is in the Greek and Latin stems known by the spelling, Sabaoth and is a word in the biblical prophets, צבאות. It means "host" or "army," a plural form indicating strength in war and is linked in a phrase as in, "Lord of hosts." Yet Lasker-Schüler chooses this word among many as a term of endearment, a lover's address, in fact a romantic familiar in her imagery, referring perhaps to the myth of the garden of Eden.



The setting for soprano is rhapsodic in a small way, with sonorous chords and a vocal line which rises to its height at the imagery of God as lover, with gently polytonal triadic harmony surrounding the notions of sweetness and the bright vision of a golden gate to....




The score for Zebaoth 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.