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RC 94* Früh, wann die Hähne krähn

unfinished work

text source

Eduard Mörike, Maler Nolten (Stuttgart: Schweizerbart 1832), Kap. 34
  • Früh, wann die Hähne krähn
  • Mörike, Eduard
  • solo voice and piano
  • 1908-11-25 00:00:00.0

Page 56 of sketchbook C-9 contains Diepenbrock’s setting of the first strophe of Früh, wann die Hähne krähn (Early, When the Cockerels Crow), a poem from Eduard Mörike’s novel Maler Nolten (The Painter Nolten, 1832). Diepenbrock had become familiar with the text through the song Das verlassene Mägdlein (The Abandoned Maiden), one of the Mörike-Lieder (Mörike Songs) that Hugo Wolf had composed in 1888. Diepenbrock told Charles Smulders (BD IV:88) that he had studied Wolf’s song oeuvre in the spring of 1903. Five years later, on 4 November 1908, he had acquired the Wolf biography by Ernst Decsey. Diepenbrock greatly admired the oeuvre of his peer and regularly played through Wolf’s songs with the alto Anke Schierbeek. He also liked it when Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius combined his own songs with those by Wolf in her recitals. …more >

Früh, wann die Hähne krähn (incipit)


Page 56 of sketchbook C-9 contains Diepenbrock’s setting of the first strophe of Früh, wann die Hähne krähn (Early, When the Cockerels Crow), a poem from Eduard Mörike’s novel Maler Nolten (The Painter Nolten, 1832). Diepenbrock had become familiar with the text through the song Das verlassene Mägdlein (The Abandoned Maiden), one of the Mörike-Lieder (Mörike Songs) that Hugo Wolf had composed in 1888. Diepenbrock told Charles Smulders (BD IV:88) that he had studied Wolf’s song oeuvre in the spring of 1903. Five years later, on 4 November 1908, he had acquired the Wolf biography by Ernst Decsey. Diepenbrock greatly admired the oeuvre of his peer and regularly played through Wolf’s songs with the alto Anke Schierbeek. He also liked it when Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius combined his own songs with those by Wolf in her recitals.

In a letter of 22 November 1908 Diepenbrock recommended the biography of Wolf to his friend W.G. Hondius van den Broek: It says good things about his songs. (BD VI:48) It must have been around this time that Diepenbrock set the opening of Mörike’s poem to music. The fragment is preceded by a sketch of the instrumentation of Der Abend (The Evening, RC 92), a song on a text by Brentano that he had completed on 19 November. The next page, dated 29 November, contains a theme that was used years later in Lydische nacht (Lydian Night, RC 118). Two pages after that is the opening of Liebesklage (Love’s Lament, RC 95) which, according to the date given on the sketch, he began on 10 December 1908 and completed on 17 December.

Diepenbrock’s melody of Früh, wann die Hähne krähn is quite straightforward, matching the popular character of the four-strophe poem: a maiden who has to get up early to light the fire, suddenly realises that she has dreamt of the unfaithful boy who has abandoned her. While she is shedding tears, she sighs: “So kommt der Tag heran – / O ging er wieder!” (Thus the day begins – / Oh let it end!)

A step by step descending and ascending sequence of parallel thirds – first major, then minor – forms a counterpoint to the melody for four measures. The third and fourth lines are accompanied by a simpler figure. Most likely Diepenbrock’s setting was meant as the exploration of an idea rather than the beginning of a serious composition. In any case, he left off after these nine measures, instead focussing on the poetically much more interesting love’s lament by Karoline von Günderrode.

Ton Braas



  • C-9(p56) Früh, wann die Hähne krähn

    C-9(p56), 1 page undated

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown