Recommended recording: Juliane Banse (soprano) and Aleksandar Madžar (piano), Alban Berg/Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Tief in der Nacht (ECM New Series 2153). This work, like all ECM recordings, is not available on any streaming service.

Presentation of the album: ECM

Kart Amadeus Hartmann profile: Schott Music

Karl Amadeus Hartmann

Lamento, for soprano and piano: Lamento III – Friede

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Part Ten Chapter 13

Down the keyboard a chromatic descent makes it clear that art is my home and exile my state: Love is but the madness that impels me from one to the other. Over the driving turbulence of the piano, over the staccato dissonance and the crashing chords, the voice of a survivor in a field of corpses comes to offer thanks. Now into silence the piano trills, breaking the singer into prayer. From the hollows within her body, a voice comes to plead for the living after the massacre. So this is the song you first heard at the Kluge’s house in Corfu, the song by a composer who moved you in that summer of ‘73. Perpetrator, victim, bystander? Mastering the art of inner emigration, from within Nazi Germany he bore witness, making a music of protest and mourning while living a life of resistance. And thus, in your discussions with Jürgen’s family, Hartmann offered an illustration of how resistance can surpass the human, all too human, trilogy.

 

Look at the singer: Her hair is exactly the same red as yours, the red of copper in the evening sun, the copper by which gods enter the ear drum. Does she remind you of Mara? She does me. Listen! Now fiercely tender, now declamatory, there’s depth and immediacy in her every phrase. How does she manage to combine such authority with vulnerability? Look at the pianist: The curl of his fingers, the relaxation of his wrist, as spider-like he spins out a soft, fluid legato—only to execute a violent, flat-fingered attack right after. I look at you and I am moved: The moist glow of your eyes tells me you’re thinking of Matteo. And thus, into this juxtaposition of the Third Reich and the Thirty Years War, into this song of suffering and remembrance, comes the death of a friend. Dark-hued, entreating, the singer’s voice captures your emotion.

Paul Klee, Demonic Puppets, 1929

Paul Klee, Walpurgisnacht, 1935

FRIEDE
Andreas Gryphius (1616-64)

Zeuch hin, betrübres Jahr, zeuch hin mit meinen Schmerzen,
Zeuch hin mit meiner Angst und überhäuftem Weh,
Zeuch so viel Leiden nach! Bedrängte Zeit, vergeh
Und führe mit dir weg die Last von diesem Herzen!

Herr, vor dem unser Jahr als ein Geschwätz und Scherzen,
Fällt meine Zeit nicht hin wie ein verschmelzter Schnee?
Lass doch, weil mir die Sonne gleich in der Mittagshöh,
Mich doch nicht untergehn gleich ausgebrannten Kerzen!

Nach Leiden, Leid und Ach und lent ergrimmten Nöten,
Nachdem auf uns gezückt und eingesteckt das Schwert
Indem der süsse Fried ins Vaterland eingekehrt,
Und man ein Danklied hört staff rasenden Trompeten.

Bisher sind wir tot gewesen, kann nun Fried ein Leben geben,
Ach, so lass uns, Friedenskönig, durch dich froh und friedlich leben,
Wo du Leben uns versprochen!

Herr, es Ist genug geschlagen
Angst und Ach genug getragen,
Gib doch nun etwas Frist, dass ich mich recht bedanke.

Gib, dass ich der Handvoll Jahre
Froh werde eins vor meiner Bahre,
Missgönne mir doch nicht dein liebliches Geschenke.

Herr, es Ist genug geschlagen
Angst und Ach genug getragen

Friede den Menschen
Friede den Toten
Friede den Lebenden
Friede, Friede, Friede

PEACE
Andreas Gryphius, trans. Paul Griffiths

Away, sad year, away with my despairing,
Away with dread, with overwhelming woe,
Away with so much sorrow; hard year, go,
And take the load my heart was bearing!

O Lord, for whom our year’s past caring,
Must my time now be up like melted snow?
O let me not at highest noontide grow
To imitate a candleflame’s last flaring!

From anguish, pain and need of utmost tearing,
From when the sword was waving to and fro,
Now here the breeze of peace begins to blow,
And songs of thanks replace the trumpet’s blaring.

We once were dead; now peace a life is giving,
So, king of peace and joy, let us be living
The life that you have promised!

Lord, I have borne enough,
I have been torn enough,
Allow me yet a little time for thought.

Give me a few years more
In which to count the score
Of gifts your love for me has bought.

Lord, I have borne enough
I have been torn enough

Peace to humanity
Peace to the dead
Peace to the living
Peace, peace, peace

ECM New Series 2153