Liebesglück hat tausend Zungen



Full score (includes performance instructions and translation of text)

3/02/11 for soprano voice and piano

Composer’s note

‘Liebesglück hat tausend Zungen’ (Love’s bliss has a thousand tongues) has, as far as I know, only been set once, by the little known Czech composer Jan Bedřich (Johann Friedrich) Kittle (1806-1868). The poet is even more obscure. The only copy of the text of which I am aware is the transcription of the Kittl setting on, where it is credited to a certain ‘Carl Friedrich Saphir’. I have been unable to track down any information at all about this person, even to confirm that he actually existed and wrote this poem!

My setting includes one musical quotation which it might be as well to identify in advance: the oboe obligato from the aria ‘Mein Freund ist mein’ from JS Bach’s cantata BWV140 ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’. The whole of the poem’s text is not set: on the other hand, two stray words appear in the setting, one to my mind resonant again of Bach (the Coffee Cantata), the other of Beethoven (choral symphony). A quotation from the Fauré Requiem is narrowly avoided: good job, its French.


Text after Carl Friedrich Saphir, available from

First Performed by Rachael Brimley (soprano) and Theodoros Iosifidis (piano), 3 May 2011, Plug festival, RSAMD Glasgow

Duration ~7′