Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tomorrow: Desert Fathers. Tonight....

Beim Schlafengehen (Upon Going to Sleep)--Hermann Hesse

Nun der Tag mich müd gemacht,
soll mein sehnliches Verlangen
fruendlich die gestirnte Nacht
wei ein müdes Kind empfangen.

Händem laßt von allen Tun,
stirn, vergiß du alles Denken,
alle meine Sinne nun
wollen sich in Schlummer senken,

Und die Seele, unbewacht,
will in freien Flügeln schweben,
um im Zauberkreis der Nacht
tief und tausendfach zu leben.

Made tired by the day now,
My passionate longing
Shall welcome the starry night
Like a tired child.

Hands, leave all your activity,
Brow, forget all thought,
For all my senses
Are about to go to sleep.

And my soul, unguarded,
Will float freely,
In order to live in the magic circle of the night
Deep and a thousand fold.

In the Strauss setting there is an interlude between the second and third verse where a violin solo builds the melody in Straussian fashion to a musical height that prompts the soprano to come in powerfully and proclaim: "Und die Seeeeeeeeelllllllleeeeeee", until it trails away, almost as if the thought cannot be finished after that.

Allright, my description does it no credit at all, nor lends it any credence. I haven't the vocabulary for it, and even if I did, it would not replace the experience.

But the words give you some flavor of the piece.

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