Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spiritual Lullaby

This is the second of Brahms's two alto-viola songs, op. 91, the "Geistliches Wiegenlied." Brahms uses the German Christmas song "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" as the melodic theme in the viola. My favorite composer, my favorite instrument (yes, the viola! let the jokes begin), and my favorite singer of all time, Dame Janet Baker, a.k.a. the only mezzo. Merry Christmas to all, and much love to all of the wonderful friends I've met through this blog. May God bless everyone who reads this and all whom you love. 

You who float
About these palm trees
In the wind at night,
You holy angels,
Hush the treetops!
My child is asleep.

You palms of Bethlehem,
In the rushing wind
How can you today
Swish so angrily?
O do not rustle like that!
Be quiet, lean
Down softly and gently;
Hush your treetops!
My child is asleep.

The heavenly boy
Has to endure hardship;
Ah! How weary he was
With the sorrow of earth.
Ah, now in sleep he
Is gently consoled,
His pain dissolves.
Hush those treetops.
My child is asleep.

Grim cold
Blows upon us;
With what shall I cover
The baby's limbs?
O all you angels
Who on your wings
Wander in the wind,
Hush the treetops!
My child is asleep.

(poem by Emmanuel von Geibel, after Lope de Vega; translated by William Mann.)


Anne-Marie said...

A merry Christmas to you and yours, Pentimento, including Jude, whom I remembered at the chapel of Our Lady of China yesterday.

Pentimento said...

Thank you so much, Anne-Marie. God bless.

Mac said...

I love the viola (one of my children plays it). This is beautiful. Merry Christmas.

Mrs C said...


maria horvath said...

All the Blessings for Christmas and the Year ahead, for you and your loved ones, Pentimento.

Pentimento said...

Thank you, Maria. I wish you the same.

Anne-Marie said...

Oddly enough, at our Christmas Eve Mass a trio of tenors sang Max Reger's Marian lullaby that uses "Joseph Lieber, Joseph Mein" as the tune.