When the silvery moon beams through the shrubs And over the lawn scatters its slumbering light, And the nightingale sings, I walk sadly through the woods. I guess you're happy, fluting nightingale, For your wife lives in one nest with you, Giving her singing spouse A thousand faithful kisses. Shrouded by foliage, a pair of doves Coo their delight to me; But I turn away seeking darker shadows, And a lonely tear flows. When, o smiling image that like dawn Shines through my soul, shall I find you on earth? And the lonely tear flows trembling, Burning, down my cheek.
Friday, April 30, 2010
In advance of the month of May, here is the great Lotte Lehmann singing one of Brahms's loveliest songs, "Die Mainacht." The text is a pre-Romantic poem (by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, 1748-1776) which is nonetheless steeped in the major concerns of German Romanticism: the night landscape, the protagonist's alienation, and his longing for the absent, or perhaps nonexistent, beloved. This translation was made by composer Leonard Lehrman: