Gethsemane - (2010)
for medium voice and piano
Alle Menschen sind der Heiland.
In dem dunklen Garten trinken wir den Kelch.
Vater, laß ihn nicht vor bergehn.
Wir sind alle einer Liebe.
Wir sind alle tiefes Leid.
Alle wollen sich erlösen.
Vater, deine Welt ist unser Kreuz.
Laß sie nicht vorübergehn.
[ 1 page, circa 2' 10" ]
All men are the Redeemer.
In the dark garden we drink from the cup.
Father, let it not pass from us.
We are all one Love.
We are all in deep pain.
All would be delivered.
Father, your world is our cross.
Let it not pass from us.
The text is taken from the 1920 Rowohlt collection, Menschenheitsdämmerung, which was subtitled "a document of expressionism," the poetry movement in Germany at the time. The image of Jesus in the garden where he prayed in the Christian gospels is broadened in this poem to "all men." At the time of upset and yet continuing bursts of creativity in Germany of this period, many were fully aware of the effects of war as of the political currents which were sweeping Europe. In this context, the promise of men as their own savior is contrasted with men who will bear the burdens of the world. How keen a difference in approach to the earlier negativism of Nietzsche and others. In a similar vein, Rudyard Kipling's Gethsemane (1914-18) speaks through this myth-metaphor to the horrific "cup" which is not taken away.
The song setting is minimalist, with but two chords throughout in slightly changing registers. The tonic minor sustains against the quiet imposition of the subdominant minor, the whole of the setting then never changing not only tonality but the single Klang, excepting the final phrases in which the subdominant minor appears alone under a recitative-like summation and then absenting itself from the final tonic minor chord.
The score for Gethsemane 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.