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Das Lied von der Erde – Der Abschied

Listening Guide

The Work


Tempo: Schwer (Heavy); Sehr Mässig (Very moderate).
Key: Begins in C minor; with principal sections in F, B-flat major, C major and minor, and ending by hovering between in C major and A minor.
Time Signature: Begins in 4/4, with principal sections in alla breve and 3/4 and numerous meter shifts to 2/4, 6/4, 2/2, 3/2, etc.
Form: Combination of sonata form and binary song form

Die Sonne scheidet hinter dem Gebirge.
In alle Täler steigt der Abend nieder
mit seinen Schatten, die voll Kühlung sind.

O sieh! Wie eine Silberbarke schwebt
der Mond am blauen Himmelssee herauf.
Ich spüre eines feinen Windes Wehn
hinter den dunklen Fichten!

Der Bach singt voller Wohllaut durch das Dunkel.
Die Blumen blassen im Dämmerschein.

Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh und Schlaf.
Alle Sehnsucht will nun träumen,
die müden Menschen gehn heimwärts,
um im Schlaf bergessnes Glück
und Jugend neu zu lernen!

Die Vögel hocken still in ihren Zweigen.
Die Welt schläft ein. . .

Es wehet kühl im Schatten meiner Fichten.
Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes;
ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl.

Ich sehne mich, o Freund, an diener Seite
die Schönheit dieses Abends zu geniessen.
Wo bleibst du? Du lässt mich lang allein!

Ich wandle auf und nieder mit meiner Laute
auf Wegen, die von weichem Grase schwellen.
O Schönheit! O ewigen Liebens, Lebens trunkne Welt!

Er stieg vom Pferd und reichte ihm den Trunk
des Abschieds dar. Er fragte ihn, wohin
er führe und auch warum es müsste sein.

Er sprach, seine Stimme war umflort:
Du, mein Freund,
mir war auf dieser Welt das Glück nicht hold!
Wohin ich geh? Ich geh, ich werde in die Berge.
Ich suche Ruhe für mein einsam Herz.

Ich wandle nach der Heimat, meiner Stätte.
Ich werde niemals in die Ferne schweifen.
Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde.

Die liebe Erde allüberall blüht auf im Lenz und grünt
aufs neu! Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen!
Ewig . . . ewig . . .

The sun sinks behind the mountains.
Evening falls in the valleys
with its shadows, full of cooling freshness.

See, how the moon above floats like a silver ship
on the blue sea of the heavens.
I feel a gentle wind blowing
behind the dark pines!

The brook sings loud and melodious through the darkness.
The flowers grow pale in the twilight.

The earth breathes deeply in rest and sleep.
All longing now has turned to dreaming.
The tired people go homewards
to find forgotten happiness in sleep
and to learn youth anew!

The birds crouch silent on the branches.
The world falls asleep. . .

There is a cool breeze in the shadow of the pines.
I stand here waiting for my friend;
I wait to bid him a last farewell.

I long, my friend, to enjoy the beauty
of the evening at your side.
Where are you? You have left me alone so long!

I wander up and down with my lute
on paths rich with soft grass.
O beauty! O world, drunk forever with love and life!

He dismounted and gave him the parting cup.
He asked him where
he was going, and also why it must be.

He spoke, and his tones were veiled:
O my friend,
fortune was not kind to me in this world!
Where am I going? I shall wander in the mountains,
I seek rest for my lonely heart.

I shall wander to my native land, to my home.
I shall never roam abroad.
Still is my heart, it is awaiting its hour.

Everywhere the lovely earth blossoms forth in spring and
grows green anew! Everywhere, forever, horizons are blue and bright!
Forever and ever . . .

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