"Courage has grown so tired, and longing so great."

I recently promised to devote special attention on this site to Entartete Musik (music deemed “degenerate” in the Third Reich).

Ullmann.jpgMy first subject is the Czech/German composer Viktor Ullmann, a student of Schoenberg, a conducting protege of Zemlinsky, and a leader of musical life in the Terezin concentration camp before being murdered in Auschwitz in September 1944.

Holde Kunst’s Ullmann Resource Guide is still taking shape, but I wanted to offer this unique preview from my YouTube travels.

This production of ARBOS - Company for Music and Theater is presented at the former frontline of World War I (a frequent source material for Ullmann) between Italy and Austria at the Valentinalm near the Plöckenpass. In This video clip Rupert Bergmann performs the character of the Cornet and Alfred Melichar performs the music of Ullmann on the accordion (from the YouTube listing)

Video: Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke
(The Lay of Love and Death of the Cornet Christoph Rilke) - Excerpt
Spoken song cycle by Viktor Ullmann · Text by Rainer Maria Rilke · Written 1944 in Terezin

Listen to Whole Cycle Free
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau speaks the Ullmann-Rilke cycle on his album “Melodramas”. Get the German and English for all five movments here.

Text for video excerpt

im Falle sein Bruder Christoph (der nach beigebrachtem Totenschein als Cornet in der Compagnie des Freiherrn von Pirovano des kaiserl. Oesterr. Heysterschen Regiments zu Ross …. verstorben war) zurückkehrt….

Reiten, reiten, reiten, durch den Tag, durch die Nacht, durch den Tag. Reiten, reiten, reiten. Und der Mut ist so müde geworden und die Sehnsucht so groß. Es gibt keine Berge mehr, kaum einen Baum. Nichts wagt aufzustehen. Fremde Hütten hocken durstig an versumpften Brunnen. Nirgends ein Turm. Und immer das gleiche Bild. Man hat zwei Augen zuviel. Nur in der Nacht manchmal glaubt man den Weg zu kennen. Vielleicht kehren wir nächtens immer wieder das Stück zurück, das wir in der fremden Sonne mühsam gewonnen haben? Es kann sein. Die Sonne ist schwer, wie bei uns tief im Sommer. Aber wir haben im Sommer Abschied genommen. Die Kleider der Frauen leuchteten lang aus dem Grün. Und nun reiten wir lang. Es muß also Herbst sein. Wenigstens dort, wo traurige Frauen von uns wissen. 
 In the case of his brother Christopher (who, according to the death certificate, was killed while serving as a Cornet in the Compagnie des barons of Pirovano The kaiserl. Oesterr. Heysterschen cavalry regiment

…. Riding, Riding, Riding, through the day, through the night, through the day. Riding, riding, riding. And courage has grown so tired, and longing so great. There are no more mountains, hardly a tree. Nothing dares to stand up. Foreign huts squat thirstily at muddied wells. Nowhere a tower. And always the same picture. One finds that one has two eyes too many. Only at night does one sometimes believe one knows the way. Perhaps at night we always return to the stretch of road that we gained so painfully under the foreign sun? It may be. The sun is heavy, as it is during the depth of our summer. But it was summer when we took our leave. The dresses of the women shimmered for a long time among the green. And now we are riding along. So it must be Autumn. At least in the place where sad women know of us.

 

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