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The performances I've found all have the horn player speak, followed by the pianist's words. I'm wondering if it is reasonable, or even possible, to have both spoken parts recited at the same time according to some meter, thus becoming a duet.

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  • I don't see how this is answerable. "Was it Hindemith's intent?" I'm guessing no, since it's labeled "A Dialogue." "Is it an acceptable artistic interpretation?" Beats me, acceptable to whom? "Will it be artistically impactful?" Maybe, if it seems nice to you? "Will the overlapping speech be intelligible?" Probably not, but try it and see? Voting to close as opinion-based. Apr 4 at 15:59
  • digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804839 might be helpful Apr 4 at 16:06
  • But given that the topic is an encomium for "the old ways" and traditionalism, set at odds with innovation, and that the subsequent music sets the two instruments at odds to represent this conflict, it seems counter to the intent. Apr 4 at 16:08
  • Thank you for the link of the diss, Andy. Very smart! Apr 5 at 6:34

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it is possible. The same way as you could have all character in a play say their part at the same time, or maybe playing all movements of a symphony at the same time. The text is labelled at ”Zwiegespräch“, so a sort of dialogue. And a classical theatric dialogue is not usually spoken at the same time, but in turns. Especially here the pianist’s part is a reply to the hornist’s part. So surely this is good reason to have them speak in turns.

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This are the lyrics:

Hornist:

Tritt uns, den Eiligen, des Hornes Klang
nicht (gleich dem Dufte langst verwelkter Blüten,
gleich brüchigen Brokats entfärbten Falten
gleich mürben Blattern früh vergilbter Bände)
als tönender Besuch aus jenen Zeiten nah,
da Eile war, wo Pferde im Galopp sich mühten
nicht wo der unterworfne Blitz in Drähten sprang:
da man zu leben und zu lernen das Gelände
durchjagte, nicht allein die engbedruckten Spalten,

Ein mattes Sehnen, wehgelaunt Verlangen
entspringt für uns dem Cornucopia

Pianist:

Nicht deshalb ist das Alte gut, weil es vergangen,
das Neue nicht vortrefflich, weil wir mit ihm gehen;
und mehr hat keiner je an Glück erfahren,
als er befähigt war zu tragen, zu verstehen

An dir ist's, hinter Eile, Lärm und Mannigfalt
das Ständige, die Stille, Sinn, Gestalt
zurückzufinden und neu zu bewahren.

Google translation:

Horn player:

Join us, those in haste, with the sound of the horn
not (like the scent of long-withered flowers,
folds discolored like brittle brocade
like crumbly leaves of early yellowed volumes)
as a sonorous visit from those times,
there was a rush where horses struggled at a gallop
not where the subdued lightning leaped in wires:
as you get to live and learn the terrain
chased through, not just the narrowly printed columns,

For us, a dull yearning, wistful longing
arises from Cornucopia

Pianist:

The old is not good because it is gone,
the new is not excellent because we go with it;
and no one has ever experienced more happiness than that,
when he was able to carry, to understand

It's up to you, behind the haste, the noise and the variety
to find the constant, the silence, meaning, form
and to preserve it anew.

As we can see this poetry, but it may be hard to be understood by the audience.

The poem says we are living in hurry times (electricity, trains, mobility, cars etc.) The sound of a horn remembers us of the good old times when hurrying meant to ride on horses.

Well, the pianist's part is quite easily understood.

I propose to give the text as a handout to the listener even with some interpretation.

Letting the musicians speak their text at the same time might be an interesting experiment but it actually won't help the comprehension.

In a fugato section of a Bach cantata we have a similar compact situation. But I wonder why the musicians should speak as a duet? I don't think this was the Intention of the composer.

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  • Um ... I supposed you intended to paste the translated text? Also no need to do so, the Schott Edition features an ”official“ translation, although I do not know if this has been provided by Hindemith or the publisher.
    – Lazy
    Apr 5 at 15:21
  • yes, I this was my goal, but somehow it didn't work I will edit my posting Apr 6 at 9:51
  • The Scohott edition with translation can be found on page 13 of the Complete Score on IMSLP. Apr 10 at 2:36

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