For the 60th concert by the Amsterdam a Cappella Choir, conducted by Anton Averkamp (1861-1934), the soprano Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius (1868-1949) and the organist Anton Tierie (1870-1938) were invited to perform four songs in the New Lutheran or Dome Church in Amsterdam on 19 November 1916. The singer selected two compositions by Diepenbrock – the Abendmahlshymne “Wenige wissen das Geheimnis der Liebe” (Hymn of the Last Supper, Few Know the Secret of Love, RC 47) and a new version of O Jesu ego amo te (RC 29) with organ accompaniment – and two songs by Mahler: Um Mitternacht (At Midnight) and Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I Am Lost to the World). For this occasion Diepenbrock made an arrangement for soprano and organ of the latter song on 6 November 1916. He owned a printed edition (piano version) of all of Mahler’s orchestral songs; in December 1910 he had them all bound in a half-leather cover together with Mahler’s piano songs.
The sketch in Diepenbrock’s handwriting only contains the organ accompaniment; the vocal part was copied without changes from the printed edition by the copyist Willem Tiel into the neat copy. In the sketch several measures were left blank, which Tiel also had to take over from the piano accompaniment.
Diepenbrock notated the bass notes an octave higher than Mahler had done in his piano version. In that register the pedal on a 16-foot basis comes more into its own as an individual part, if played in a mild timbre. In addition, Diepenbrock omitted the many parallel octaves. In his organ arrangement Diepenbrock has left out most of the first quavers of the broken chords that form a large part of Mahler’s piano transcription (in the orchestral version they are played by the harp). Often he did this out of necessity, as the notes generally go beyond the compass of the organ manual, but that is not always the case.
Clearly Diepenbrock intended to give the broken chords more depth. For example, in measures 28 to 38 he has chosen to replace the ostinato triplet figures in the bass by an accompaniment characterised by ties and crotchets. The capricious rhythm thus created, gives a mysterious tone to the strophe
Es is mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie [die Welt] mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.
(It is of no consequence to me,
Whether it [the world] thinks me dead,
There is no way I can deny it,
For I am truly dead to the world.)
Both the sketch and the copy contain scanty instructions for the registration. In addition, in the copy the places where one has to change manual are marked in pencil by means of the indication I, II or III. For example, the end is played entirely pianissimo and an octave higher than in Mahler’s version on the third manual, save for the last four measures in the left hand. Still an octave higher, the echo of the soprano melody that is fading away, is assigned to the second manual to come to the fore.
This arrangement shows Diepenbrock’s autonomous approach to Mahler’s example and his creative ability to write an independent work of art based on the difference between the idiom of the organ and the piano. However, the concert of 19 November 1916 might well be the only time the organ version of this profound Mahler song was ever performed.