Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cabaret San Francisco: The San Francisco Symphony Hosts Ute Lemper, And HK Gruber's Frankenstein!! -- A Fantastic Musical Comic Book For Adults

Ute Lemper

Cabaret diva Ute Lemper is Germany’s most electrifying chanteuse. She is often compared to Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf and is one of the greatest contemporary exponents of cabaret music.

May 4, 2006 at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco



HK Gruber's Frankenstein!!

Edwin Outwater conducts the San Francisco Symphony in HK Gruber's Frankenstein!! - a work influenced by Kurt Weill, Stravinsky, and pop music, May 10 - 13.
Tickets start at $20.


Read the Conductor's thoughts on preparing Frankenstein!!:


Listen to the Music of HK Gruber's Frankenstein!!:


Read the H.C. Artmann lyrics to Frankenstein!!:

Frankenstein!! Lyrics

The lyrics for Frankenstein!! are from "children's rhymes" by H.C. Artmann. Innocent in diction and sing-song in rhythm, the rhymes paint disturbingly comic scenarios peopled by characters such as Dracula, James Bond, Superman, John Wayne, Batman, and a werewolf. Harriett Watts translated the poems into English.

1 Fanfare, Prologue

little mouse, little mouse
takes me to his mousey house,
now he nibbles out my eye
lost without my eye-
I must bake a currant pie-
currant pie with raisins sweet
pick two out, but not to eat,
stick them in to be my eyes.
ah, the sunshine, bright surprise!

I. Dedication

something learned
is something earned.
purchase then some ink and pen.
dip your pen
into the ink,
take a page,
sit and think.
don't compose delightful prose.
any sprite could write in white.
it should reach through blood and bone
to your heart's
own little home.

Miss Dracula

biddy bat that soars so high
faster than the clouds can fly
gliding through the moonlight bright
muzzle smeared from bloody bite.
if she grabs you by the hair,
you'll fly with her through the air.
disappear without a trace,
to a wild and far-off place,
to her secret hiding place,
lonely castle like a tomb
with a dark red dining room,
she brings children to their doom,
sipping blood from tiny veins -
quite a legend, where she reigns!
back in transylvania
where she keeps her bat villa
she is called miss dracula.

2 II. Goldfinger and Bond

this is the thumb
sticks to the gums
this is the goldfinger
it pulls the trigger
this is the long finger
scratches the wall-safe
this is the nose-finger
rubs out goldfinger
and this is the itzy
itzy bitzy jimmy bond.

John Wayne

a john wayne he must have now
two tall boots made for walking
little fist made for hitting
a casket for a basket
two bright spurs upon his boot heels-
which no pony's flank will feel.
mean hombres made to shoot at
and golden bullets in his gat.
just you dare doubt his honour -
you poor guy, you're a gonner.
off he goes, what a speed,
through Texas on his trusty steed
learn from him, gentle child,
why heroes act so wild
you shouldn't mix with rough guys
if you're not a tough guy.
so when you're chasing baddies
don't be sweet and soft like dad is.


monster races down the stairs
grubby hands, dishevelled hair
so that's why he never lingers
there's blood on his dainty fingers
look! there's a fine old urinal
with water rushing just like niagara falls
in he skips and all is flushed away
hands as fresh as new-mown hay. 3 III. Monsterlet

a little mi-ma-monsterlet
is dancing round our house.
[an itzy bitzy monsterlet
is dancing round our house
it takes itself,
it shakes itself,
strews thumbtacks all about itself.
That's how the mi-ma-monsterlet
goes dancing through our house.]

4 IV. Fanfare, Intermezzo

when the logs are burning in the stoves
winter laughs in snowflake droves,
taps the window, wants to play,
'tis the merry werewolf's favourite day.
merrily he crosses fields
winter silence at his heels
fur is bristling out in fun
freest soul beneath the sun.
little children, leave your house,
scurry out quick as a mouse
take along some Christmas cake,
follow in the werewolf's wake.

5 V. Frankenstein

frankenstein is dancing
frankenstein is dancing
with the test-tube lady,
with the test-tube lady,
and my little daughter dear, my daughter dear,
it's you!
and my little daughter dear, little daughter,
it's you!

6 VI. Rat Song and Crusoe Song

little rat now come with me,
happy playmates we shall be,
angel wings tie to your toes,
take you to the circus shows.
children will be standing by
when they see you fly they'll cry-
goodness me! is that a rat?
no, a flying circus bat!

do you see good robinson
sneaking off to have some fun?
he's had too much of roasted goat
watch him wading to his boat,
the next island is his goal
robinson, intrepid soul.
listen how the oars are lapping
listen to the wet sails flapping.
as he sees the pale moon rise
there he meets a new surprise.
cannibals live on this shore
(any child can tell you more!)
robinson is in for a treat-
dining on some rare fresh meat!
little rat now come with me, etc.

7 VII. Superman

mister superman, put on your pants
else someone's bound to know you.
that lois lane is on her way
to jump in bed with you, sir,
poing poing crash crash
crash crash poing poing
she's out to trap you in a snare
and I, the holy kryptonus, am there
so heed my warning!

8 VIII. Finale

The green-haired Man
swing wide the door, swing wide the door
here comes a bright pink wagon.
who's sitting there, who's sitting there,
a man with bright green hair, dear.
what does he want? what does he want?
he's come to fetch marie, dear.
but why marie? but why marie?
because her blood's so sweet, dear.
what is his name? what is his name?
he does not give a name, dear.
what would he like?
what would he like?
he likes to eat the ladies.
give him marie, give him marie.
we should not wish to cross him,
else from his eyes, I do surmise
he' make us into mince-meat pies. Batman and Robin

batman and robin
still lie in their bed
robin's a nice boy
but batman's ill-bred.
batman ta-ta
and robin too-too
coffee is on,
and it's breakfast for two.

Monster In the Park

there're monsters hiding in the city park
never go there after dark.
so hang on tight to your school books
hurry through while no one looks.
evil lurks in monster's eyes,
he has plans for those he spies.
ya, holding out a red cherry
casts his eyes on mark, or mary
or on both, two heads for one
monster also finds that fun.
tender skins are what he's after,
strung like toys across his rafter.
so, children, listen and take care
see him waiting over there,
laughing back behind the leafy trees
eats the cherries, spits out cherry seeds
while the evening whip-poor-wills
start their song behind the hills.


dear mama and dear papa
baby vampire's biting me.
give a small clout to his small snout
baby's cross will drive him out.

Hello, hello Herr Frankenstein

hello, hello herr Frankenstein
are you my good doll's doctor?
say, is my caspar healthy again?
ah, yes, there in the back he sits
his old stuffed heart has been exchanged
for a heart of living flesh.
how pleased I am, how pleased I am
his little lungs make noises.
why shouldn't they be noisy, dear?
those lungs are from a criminal
and the brilliant brain as well
that's throbbing in his skull now
two little eyes I've planted in
to gaze up at the moon with.
good medicine is practised here
with minor aberrations.
and see the slender backbone there,
I've turned it on the lathe tonight,
with my own hands
I did the installation.
thank you, thank you, herr Frankenstein
my caspar can now walk again
and when he wants and feels the need
chase the pretty, pretty little girls.

Grete Müller's Adieu

grete müller is my name
nipping neckies is my game,
little vampire teeth to bite
little sharpened nails to fight
never dead, if I should die,
always in the evening sky
when the shadows start to sing
hear the rustling of my wing.

Fanfare, Epilogue

this little book is done
see the mouse run
catch the mouse
then you can make from him
such a fine pistol holster.

Music by H. K. Gruber
Text by H. C. Artmann
(c) Copyright 1978 by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.
Reprinted by permission of Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.


Photo credit: San Francisco Symphony site. With thanks.


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