Blumen - (2012)
text of Bertram Kottmann after a poem by Albert Laighton
for medium voice and piano
Engelschrift im grün belaubten Buche der Natur,
leuchten sie in allen Farben, allen Tönen,
regenbogengleich und wie der Abendhimmel Flur,
überall, auf Bergen und in Eb'nen,
abgeschied'nen Tälern und im Menschenstrom der Stadt,
fern, auf endlos weitem Land, wo kein Auge, nur ein Gott,
je ihr stilles, heiliges Mysterium erschauet hat.
Sagt Ihm Dank - denn sie erfreuen unser Herz.
Engelsodem öffnen sie die duft'gen Lippen,
lauschen einem Flüstern himmelwärts.
Copyright © Bertram Kottmann 2012 All international rights reserved. Used with permission
4 pages, circa 2' 50"
The original English poem by American poet, Albert Laighton (1829-1887) has been reinterpreted by Bertram Kottmann, who has provided many translations between German and English, some of which may be read on the Lieder and Art Songs website, to which he is a contributor. This newly written text which he sent to me is as I read it more than a translation, and as such I have treated it in its own right. What follows is Laighton's evocative Flowers.
They are autographs of angels, penned
In Nature's green-leaved book, in blended tints,
Borrowed from rainbows and the sunset skies,
And written everywhere - on plain and hill,
In lonely dells, 'mid crowded haunts of men;
On the broad prairies, where no eye save God's
May read their silent, sacred mysteries.
Thank God for flowers! they gladden human hearts;
Seraphic breathings part their fragrant lips
With whisperings of Heaven.
The long-lined texture in the accompaniment is made of triads which together most often spell seven chords with some slip chords and occasional light chromaticism to evoke the many colors and tints imagined. The single phrase -- "Sagt Ihm Dank" -- is repeated as the final statement of this setting, for the praise is of flowers and to God. Many times gratitude is its own reward, and this tender view of one aspect of life is reminder that "thanks" is a most appropriate reaction to beauty, even in this seemingly modern age.
The score for Blumen 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.