German Romantic Song (2014)

6 minutes
Soprano and Piano
Commissioned by Lyrica Chamber Music for Kiera Duffy and David Kaplan

Note from the poet:

“Mohammed Fairouz takes my oblique and eccentric poem, with its straightforward language and tangled emotions, and unearths its opulently operatic interior:  hearing his brilliant setting of ‘German Romantic Song,’ I’m thunderstruck by how sensitively he has delineated the various chambers of the poem’s heart, how novelistically he has turned plain statement into suspenseful quest, and how wittily he has concocted musical equivalents for sub rosa verbal innuendos.  In my life, nothing equals the pleasure of hearing, for the first time, Mohammed’s elevation of my taciturn poetic monologues into singable splendor.”

Wayne Koestenbaum


German Romantic Song

Cryptic owl on my sill,
olive branch in the gold-bowered cope,

when I was a child I didn’t know
what the word “colleague” meant: darkness?
My father had many colleagues;
I had none.

I told his assistant, twenty-one years ago,
“I wonder which I love most,
words or music.”
I can’t remember her advice,
though later she sued my father—
a long story. Perhaps
ecstasy can’t be sought?
Materialism is no longer my amour,
I’m forever a bridegroom to bliss and its disguises.

— Wayne Koestenbaum

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