A set of three songs in German for bass-baritone and piano, using texts by August von Platen, Wolfgang Borchert, and Christian Morgenstern. The songs were commissioned by Esther Nelson for her husband, Bernd Ulken, on the occasion of his birthday in 2007. They were revised for publication in 2012.
These three songs present three diverse legends. The first is about Alaric, an early fifth-century king of the Goths, who died while on campaign in the region of Calabria in southern Italy. Rather than allowing the hated Romans the opportunity to find and desecrate the king's grave, his soldiers diverted the Busento River, buried the king in the riverbed, and then allowed the river to resume its natural course. Alaric's grave has never been found. The second legend is a twentieth-century story of a deserted young woman, and the third is about a legendary creature—the werewolf—who, for some reason, has a keen interest in German grammar.