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Rückert-Lieder – Um Mitternacht (At Midnight)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

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!

Rückert-Lieder – Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen (I Have Lost My Way In The World)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Key: F major in piano version; E-flat major in orchestral version (with modulations into A-flat and then C major and minor.
[N.B., the volume of the Critical Edition of Mahler’s works prepared under the auspices of the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft, Vienna, devoted to the orchestral version of four Rückert-Lieder includes 2 orchestral versions of this song, one in F and the other in E-flat. (See Band XIV, Teilband 4)].

Tempo: Äussert langsam und zurückhaltend (extremely slow and held back)
Time Signature: 4/4 (with one measure of 2/4).
Form: through-composed but with three distinct sections, the second of which contrasts somewhat with the others.

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh’ in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb’ allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!

I have lost my way in the world
With which I used to waste much time;
It has heard nothing of me for so long,
It may well think I am dead!

And for me it is of no concern at all
If it considers me dead,
Nor can I say anything against it,
For in truth I am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world’s tummelt
And rest in a place of quietness!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love, in my song.

Rückert-Lieder – Liebst Du Um Schönheit (If You Love For Beauty’s Sake)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Key: C major.
Tempo: Innig, fliessend (tender, flowing) (fliessend does not appear in the orchestral score)
Time Signature: 3/4 with numerous changes.
Form: simple strophic form
Orchestration: According to the original orchestral score, published by C. F. Kahnt, this song was not orchestrated by Mahler, but by an employee of the publisher, Max Puttmann. Many commentators have criticized the orchestration as flawed in details that Mahler would not have missed.

Liebst du um Schönheit,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe die Sonne,
sie trägt ein goldnes Haar!

Liebst du um Jugend,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe den Frühling,
der jung ist jedes Jahr!

Liebst du um Schätze,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe die Meerfrau,
sie hat viel Perlen klar!

Liebst du um Liebe,
o ja mich liebe!
Liebe mich immer,
dich lieb’ ich immerdar.

If you love for beauty’s sake
do not love me!
Love the sun,
it wears hair of gold.

If you love for youth’s sake,
do not love me!
Love the spring,
which is young every year!

If you love for treasure’s sake,
o do not love me.
Love the mermaid,
she owns many lucent pearls.

If you love for love’s sake,
yes, then love me.
Love me always,
as I love you always forever.

Rückert-Lieder – Ich Atmet’ Einen Linden Duft (I Breathed A Gentle Fragrance)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Key: D major (E-flat major in final verse)
Tempo: Sehr zart und innig (Very tender and intimate)
Time Signature: 6/4 (3/4 in final six measures)
Rhythm: continuous eighth-note ostinato interwoven around the quarter-notes of the vocal line like Athe gentle rocking rhythm of a lullaby.
Form: Two-part song form.
Orchestration: 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet in A, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, celesta, harp, violins and violas.

Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
Ein Zweig der Linde,
Im Zimmer stand
Ein Angebinde
Von lieber Hand.
Wie lieblich war der Lindenduft!

Wie lieblich ist der Lindenduft!
Das Lindenreis
Brachst du gelinde!
Ich atme leis
Im Duft der Linde
Der Liebe linden Duft.

I breathed a gentle fragrance!
In the room stood
A branch of a linden tree,
A present
From a dear hand.
How lovely was the fragrance of a linden tree!

How lovely is the fragrance of a linden tree!
The linden-twig
Was gently plucked by you.
I softly breathe,
In the fragrance of a linden tree,
Love’s gentle fragrance.

Rückert-Lieder – Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder (Do Not Peek At My Songs)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Key: F major (second and final verse in the minor key)
Tempo: Sehr Lebhaft (Very fast).
Time Signature: 2/2
Rhythm: nearly moto perpetuo eighth-notes
Form: AA’; AA’ (A’ episodes in the minor)

Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!
Meine Augen schlag’ ich nieder,
Wie ertappt auf böser Tat.

Selber darf ich nicht getrauen,
Ihrem Wachsen zuzuschauen
Deine Neugier ist Verrat!

Bienen, wenn sie Zellen bauen,
Lassen auch nicht zu sich schauen,
Schauen selbst auch nicht zu.

Wenn die reichen Honigwaben
Dann vor allen nasche du!

Do not peek at my songs.
I cast my eyes down.
As if caught in a misdeed.

I cannot even trust myself
. I cannot even trust myself
Your inquisitiveness in treason!

Bees, when they build cells,
Do not let one observe them either,
And do not observe themselves.

Have been brought to daylight
Then, before anybody, you shall taste them.

Rückert-Lieder – Introduction

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Dates of Composition: 1901 (Rückert-Lieder); 1902 (Liebst du um Schönheit); published as Sieben Lieder Aus Letzter Zeit 1910 (C. F. Kahnt).
Place of composition: Maiernigg
Type of composition: 5 Songs in versions with piano and orchestral accompaniment.

Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder
Janet Baker, mezzo‑soprano
New Philharmonia
Sir John Barbirolli, conductor
Buy this CD on

Um Mitternacht
Jose Van Dam, bass
Cleveland Orchestra
Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor