Chamber Choir in Concert on Sunday, Nov. 13 @ 3pm, Roberts Recital Hall
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is one of the most well-known German poets of his time. Yet curiously, a large part of his oeuvre is written in French, dedicated to his strong connection with the French-speaking portion of Switzerland. All of his poetry is profound and lyrical -- extremely beautiful. It's traditional in a Romantic sense -- creating beautiful images involving animals and seasons and other natural elements. But also found in his work is a profound sense of solitude; his work reminds me that in the end, we all die alone, and that perhaps it's best to pay attention to the world around us because we are here for only a very short time.
Six Chansons, Paul Hindemith
(Poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke)
I. La Biche (The Doe)
O thou doe:
what vistas of secular forest appear in thine eyes reflected;
What confidence serene affected by transient shades of fear.
And it all is borne on thy bounding course, for so gracile art thou.
Nor comes aught to astound
the impassive profound unawareness of thy brow.
II. un Cygne (The Swan)
A swan moves over the water,
Surrounded by itself, like a gliding tableau.
Thus the beloved is sometimes
a moving space.
He draws near, duplicated like the swimming swan,
to our troubled soul ....
which adds the trembling image
of joy and doubt.
III. Puisque tout passe (Since all is Passing)
Since all is passing,
Let us make a passing melody.
The one that quenches our thirst
Will be right for us.
Let us sing what leaves us
With love and art;
Let us be quicker
Than the quick departure.
IV. Printemps (Spring)
O melody of the sap
that rises in the instruments
of all these trees,
accompany the song
of our too-short voices.
It is only for a few measures
that we follow
the manifold figurations
of your long abandon,
O abundant nature.
When it comes time for us to fall silent
others will carry on ...
But for now what can I do
to make my whole heart
a complement to you?
V. En Hiver (In Winter)
With the winter, Death, grisly guest
Through the doorway steals in
Both the young and the old to quest,
And he plays them his violin.
But when the Spring’s spades are beating
Frozen earth beneath blue sky,
The Death his way goes fleeting,
Lightly greeting passersby.
VI. Verger (Orchard)
The earth is nowhere so real a presence
As mid thy branches
O orchard blond
And nowhere so airy as here in the pleasance
Of lacy shadows on grassy pond.
There we encounter that which we quested,
That which sustains us and nourishes life
And with it the passage manifested
Of tenderness undying.
But at thy center the spring’s limpid waters,
Almost asleep in the fountain’s heart,
Of this strange contrast scarce have taught us
Since of them it is so truly part.
Laudate Dominum, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
(Psalm 116 )
O praise the Lord, all ye nations;
Praise him, all ye peoples.
For his loving kindness
Has been bestowed upon us,
And the truth of the Lord
Also, we'll be singing a "newer" work by Tarik O'Regan (b. 1978), a composer who will soon be in residence at UAHuntsville in February. (Hooray!) We'll be singing Threshold of Night on Sunday. If you haven't heard it, I suggest you check it out...stunning piece. More on O'Regan here.