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Rückert-Lieder – Um Mitternacht (At Midnight)

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: B minor in the piano version and the Kritische Gesamtausgabe; B-flat minor and A minor in other orchestral editions.
Tempo: Ruhig. Gleichmässig. (Restful, evenly)
Time Signature: 3/2, alternating with 2/2, 4/2 and 6/2.
Orchestration: no strings; 2 flutes; 2 oboes (oboe d’amore in A minor version); 2 clarinets; 2 bassoons and contrabassoon; 4 horns; 2 trumpets; 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp and piano.
Form: strophic in five verses; ABAAB.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich gewacht
Und aufgeblickt zum Himmel;
Kein Stern vom Sterngewimmel
Hat mir gelacht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich gedacht
Hinaus in dunkle Schranken.
Es hat kein Lichtgedanken
Mir trost gebracht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Nahm ich in acht
Die Schläge meines Herzens;
Ein einz’ger Puls des Schmerzes
War angefacht
Um Mitternacht

Um Mitternacht
Kämpft’ ich die Schlacht,
O Menschheit, deiner Leiden;
Nicht konnt’ ich sie entscheiden
Mit meiner Macht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich die Macht
In deine Hand gegeben!
Herr! Über Tod und Leben
Du hälst die Wacht
Um Mitternacht!

At midnight
I awake
And looked up at the sky.
Not a star in the galaxy
Smiled at me
At midnight.

At midnight
My thought went
Out to the limits of darkness.
There was no thought of light
To bring me comfort
At midnight.

At midnight
I paid heed
To the beating of my heart.
One single pulse of pain
Caught fire
At midnight.

At midnight
I fought the fight
Of your sorrows, O Mankind.
I could not decide it
For all my power
At midnight.

At midnight
I gave my power
Into your hands,
Lord! Over life and death
You keep watch
At midnight!

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