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RC 14 Meinacht (“Ik zag in ’t grondloos blauw de sterren vonken”)

text source

Hélène Swarth, Blauwe Bloemen (Utrecht: J.L. Beijers 1884), 34

dedicatees

recordings

  • Songs 3 NM Classics

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 11 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 11226055
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I

  • Meinacht (“Ik zag in ’t grondloos blauw de sterren vonken”)
  • Swarth, Hélène
  • contralto and piano
  • 1885-08-17 00:00:00.0
  • duration 3:20

Diepenbrock does not mention the sonnet Meinacht (May Night) anywhere in his letters. It was written by Hélène Swarth (1859-1941) in memory of the poet Jacques Perk, who died at a young age. Diepenbrock set one of his poems, Avondzang (Evening Song, RC 13), to music in April 1885. In his correspondence Diepenbrock does not say a word about the literary qualities of Hélène Swarth. …more >

May Night (incipit)


Diepenbrock does not mention the sonnet Meinacht (May Night) anywhere in his letters. It was written by Hélène Swarth (1859-1941) in memory of the poet Jacques Perk, who died at a young age. Diepenbrock set one of his poems, Avondzang (Evening Song, RC 13), to music in April 1885. In his correspondence Diepenbrock does not say a word about the literary qualities of Hélène Swarth.

In the months before Diepenbrock wrote Meinacht, he was feeling downcast about his composing, according to a letter from a good friend dated 18 July 1885: Sadly, he does not appear to gain much pleasure from his music, he wrote about it very briefly and rather despondently. It is a shame, because I believe he had high hopes for it. (BD I:102) By writing this song, Diepenbrock got over his negative feelings.

The theme of sultry nocturnal nature, “full of the scent of jasmines” and the declamatory treatment of the vocal part is in keeping with his earlier songs. The composition follows the form of the sonnet. The quatrains and the second tercet are based on the same material. In a brief interlude before the first tercet Diepenbrock uses word-painting; the piano imitates the characteristic song of the nightingale which is then mentioned in the text. The three closing lines reveal the ‘message’ of the poem:

Mij drong die vogelzang door ziel en zinnen.
Uw vleug’len zanger, mocht ik vaak benijden,
Doch tienmaal meer uw lied van liefdelijden.

(That birdsong pierced my heart and soul.
Your wings, singer, I often envied,
But tenfold more your song of heartbreak.)

Kitty Kuiper, to whom Meinacht is dedicated, is a sister of Diepenbrock’s friend E.T. (Esgo) Kuiper (1862-1924). Her name is not mentioned in Diepenbrock’s correspondence, but it is likely that the final passage of a letter from Diepenbrock to Esgo, dated 1 August 1885, is about her: Do not forget to send my best wishes to your family and when you see a pair of turquoise blue eyes, look deep [into] them and do not make any plans! (BD I:103)

Diepenbrock’s Meinacht has only been transmitted in one semi-autograph; the copy of the song which must have contained the dedication to Kitty Kuiper, has been lost. As far as we know this composition was never performed during Diepenbrock’s lifetime.

Robert Spannenberg



Ik zag in ‘t grondloos blauw de sterren vonken,
En witte wolkjes komen en verdwijnen.
O klaar en koel, als menschlijke oogen blonken
De gouden spranken, die onze aard' beschijnen!

Toen sloeg ik d'oogen neer. Mijn lippen dronken
Den zoelen wind, vol geuren van jasmijnen,
En, droomensmoê, in stil genot verzonken,
Vergat mijn ziel de wilde winterpijnen.

Een nachtegaal, op blanke bloesemtwijgen,
Verhief de stem en zong een lied van minnen.
De lentenacht smolt weg in aêmloos zwijgen.

Mij drong die vogelzang door ziel en zinnen.
Uw vleug'len, zanger, mocht ik vaak benijden,
Doch tienmaal meer uw lied van liefdelijden!


  • A-80(2) Meinacht

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    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7

    semi-autograph A-80(2) dated on the title page gecomponeerd voor Altstem met Klavierbegeleiding door A Diepenbrock Amst[erdam] 17 Aug 85

    • 1885-08-17 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 7
  • SL-01

    copy, now lost (This copy, which according to Reeser was almost identical to A-80(2) and probably by the same copyist, is mentioned in the Critical Notes of the 1952 edition.)

    • pages: unknown

  • click to enlarge

    Songs 3

    cd NM Classics
    Alexander, Roberta ♦ Jansen, Rudolf ♦ Nes, Jard van ♦ Holl, Robert ♦ Prégardien, Christoph ♦ Pfeiler, Christa

    Tracks:

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 11

    1999 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Krouwel, Dinant
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I

    1952 Reeser, Eduard