Du bist die Ruh (You are harmony and rest)
High voice, piano
Text: Friedrich Rückert, in English translation by composer.
Premiere-1998, by Maria Jette and Sonja Thompson, Saint Paul, MN.
Du bist die Ruh was written in tribute to Bruce Carlson, the long-time Executive Director of The Schubert Club. I—along with Stephen Paulus, Libby Larsen and Randall Davidson—contributed a song to a little garland which was sung at Bruce’s thirty-year celebration. Our “assignment” was to set a text set by Schubert. I chose Rückert’s “Du bist die Ruh,” but didn’t want to set the German, so I made a loose translation, retained Schubert’s key, first note, and meter, and started fresh with everything else. Maria Jette and Sonja Thompson performed the set. More recently, the song has become part of the cycle An Academy of Ancient Music.
You are harmony and rest.
You are yearning and its cadence.
I dedicate to you, as to a sacred place,
full of pain and joy, my eyes and heart.
Turn to me now and quietly close the doors behind you.
Drive other sorrows far away:
May my heart fill with delight in you.
This vaulted dome with your light voice alone is filled,
Oh let it ring, let it ring.
(Translation © 1999 by DET)