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Songs

Geheimnis ‘An Franz Schubert’

by Franz Schubert

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Text & Translation

Geheimnis ‘An Franz Schubert’
German source: Johann Mayrhofer

Sag an, wer lehrt dich Lieder,
So schmeichelnd und so zart?
Sie zauben einen Himmel
Aus trüber Gegenwart.
Erst lag das Land verschleiert
Im Nebel vor uns da –
Du singst – und Sonnen leuchten,
Und Frühling ist uns nah.

Den schilfbekränzten Alten,
Der seine Urne giesst,
Erblickst du nicht, nur Wasser,
Wie’s durch die Wiesen fliesst.
So geht es auch dem Sänger,
Er singt, er staunt in sich;
Was still ein Gott bereitet,
Befremdet ihn wie dich.

Secret 'To Franz Schubert'
English translation © Richard Wigmore

Tell us, who teaches you
such tender, flattering songs?
They evoke a heaven
from these cheerless times.
First the land lay veiled
in mist before us –
then you sing, and the sun shines,
and spring is near.

You do not see
the old man, crowned with reeds,
emptying his urn;
you see only water flowing through the meadows.
So too it is with the singer.
He sings, he marvels inwardly;
he wonders, as you do,
at God’s silent creation.

Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

Geheimnis ‘An Franz Schubert’
German source: Johann Mayrhofer

Secret 'To Franz Schubert'
English source: Richard Wigmore

Sag an, wer lehrt dich Lieder,
Tell us, who teaches you
So schmeichelnd und so zart?
such tender, flattering songs?
Sie zauben einen Himmel
They evoke a heaven
Aus trüber Gegenwart.
from these cheerless times.
Erst lag das Land verschleiert
First the land lay veiled
Im Nebel vor uns da –
in mist before us –
Du singst – und Sonnen leuchten,
then you sing, and the sun shines,
Und Frühling ist uns nah.
and spring is near.

Den schilfbekränzten Alten,
You do not see
Der seine Urne giesst,
the old man, crowned with reeds,
Erblickst du nicht, nur Wasser,
emptying his urn;
Wie’s durch die Wiesen fliesst.
you see only water flowing through the meadows.
So geht es auch dem Sänger,
So too it is with the singer.
Er singt, er staunt in sich;
He sings, he marvels inwardly;
Was still ein Gott bereitet,
he wonders, as you do,
Befremdet ihn wie dich.
at God’s silent creation.

Composer

Franz Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He…

Poet

Johann Mayrhofer

Johann Baptist Mayrhofer , was an Austrian poet and librettist. He is best known for his close friendship with the composer Franz Schubert. Mayrhofer was born in Steyr, educated and Novitiate in St. Florian's Priory Upper Austria. In 1810 he began…

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