Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mendelssohn Duet

This is the artlessly beautiful "Gruss," number 3 of the Six Duets, op. 63, for soprano and alto. The text, a poem by the Romantic poet Eichendorff, was also used by Brahms in a melancholy, etheral setting for women's chorus.

Wherever I go and look,
in field and forest and plain,
down the hill to the mead;
most beautiful noble lady,
I greet you a thousand times.

In my garden I find
many flowers, pretty and nice,
many garlands I bind from them
and a thousand thoughts
and greetings I weave into them.

I must not give one, though, to you;
you are too noble and fair;
they will have to fade too soon;
only love without equal
stays in the heart forever.

Mendelssohn chose not to set the last verse, which gives the poem an entirely different meaning:

I seem to be of good cheer
and work to and fro,
and, though my heart bursts,
I dig on and sing,
and soon I will dig my own grave.

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