Hans Abrahamsen's Efteraarslied / Herbstlied (1992) for Mezzo-Soprano, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (or Harpsichord).
Original German text by Rainer Maria Rilke. Danish text by Thorkild Bjørnvig.
Parts available: WH31259A
This work was written for the tenth anniversary of the Vækstcenteret (the growth center) with a dedication to its head, Jes Bertelsen. This center is a place for consciousness training, as well as instruction in meditation practices and various forms of self-development. It is also a community of spiritual fellowship and a place to find peace and inspiration for internal contemplation.
The original version of the piece was scored for mezzo-soprano, clarinet and harpsichord. The work is a quodlibet utilizing a Danish song by Oluf Ring – Sig nærmer tiden (The time is near for you to leave) – and two themes by Johan Sebastian Bach from Die Kunst der Fugue: the main theme and the B-A-C-H theme which the Baroque composer introduces in the last fugue the moment before the composition breaks off unfinished. The text is Rainer Maria Rilke’s Herbst:
Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.
Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.
Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.
Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.
In 2009 I wrote a version for cor anglais, piano (or Harpsichord) and string trio: WH31261