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 as a tribute to Bruce Carlson, the 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.
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)