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Songs

Gesang der Geister

by Carl Loewe

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Text & Translation

Gesang der Geister
German source: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Des menschen Seele
Gleicht dem Wasser:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
Zum Himmel steigt es,
Und wieder nieder
Zur Erde muss es,
Ewig wechselnd.

Strömt von der hohen,
Steilen Felswand
Der reine Strahl,
Dann stäubt er lieblich
In Wolkenwellen
Zum glatten Fels,
Und leicht empfangen,
Wallt er verschleiernd,
Leisrauschend
Zur Tiefe nieder.

Ragen Klippen
Dem Sturz’ entgegen,
Schäumt er unmutig
Stufenweise
Zum Abgrund.

Im flachen Bette
Schleicht er das Wiesental hin,
Und in dem glatten See
Weiden ihr Antlitz
Alle Gestirne.

Wind ist der Welle
Lieblicher Buhler;
Wind mischt von Grund aus
Schäumende Wogen.

Seele des Menschen,
Wie gleichst du dem Wasser!
Schicksal des Menschen,
Wie gleichst du dem Wind!

Song of the Spirits
English translation © Richard Wigmore

The soul of mankind
is like the water:
from heaven it comes;
to heaven it rises;
and again
to earth it must descend,
eternally fluctuating.

When the pure jet
gushes from the high,
steep rock-face,
it sprays gratefully
its misty waves
against the smooth rock,
and when lightly gathered
surges like a veil,
softly hissing,
down into the depths.

If cliffs loom up
in the path of its fall,
it foams angrily,
step by step,
into the abyss.

In its level bed
it meanders through the meadow valley,
and in the glassy lake
all the stars
delight in their own countenance.

The wind is the waves’
sweet lover;
the wind thoroughly stirs up
the foaming billows.

Soul of mankind,
how like the water you are!
Fate of mankind,
how like the wind!

Gesang der Geister
German source: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Song of the Spirits
English source: Richard Wigmore

Des menschen Seele
The soul of mankind
Gleicht dem Wasser:
is like the water:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
from heaven it comes;
Zum Himmel steigt es,
to heaven it rises;
Und wieder nieder
and again
Zur Erde muss es,
to earth it must descend,
Ewig wechselnd.
eternally fluctuating.

Strömt von der hohen,
When the pure jet
Steilen Felswand
gushes from the high,
Der reine Strahl,
steep rock-face,
Dann stäubt er lieblich
it sprays gratefully
In Wolkenwellen
its misty waves
Zum glatten Fels,
against the smooth rock,
Und leicht empfangen,
and when lightly gathered
Wallt er verschleiernd,
surges like a veil,
Leisrauschend
softly hissing,
Zur Tiefe nieder.
down into the depths.

Ragen Klippen
If cliffs loom up
Dem Sturz’ entgegen,
in the path of its fall,
Schäumt er unmutig
it foams angrily,
Stufenweise
step by step,
Zum Abgrund.
into the abyss.

Im flachen Bette
In its level bed
Schleicht er das Wiesental hin,
it meanders through the meadow valley,
Und in dem glatten See
and in the glassy lake
Weiden ihr Antlitz
all the stars
Alle Gestirne.
delight in their own countenance.

Wind ist der Welle
The wind is the waves’
Lieblicher Buhler;
sweet lover;
Wind mischt von Grund aus
the wind thoroughly stirs up
Schäumende Wogen.
the foaming billows.

Seele des Menschen,
Soul of mankind,
Wie gleichst du dem Wasser!
how like the water you are!
Schicksal des Menschen,
Fate of mankind,
Wie gleichst du dem Wind!
how like the wind!

Composer

Carl Loewe

Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe (G30 November 1796 – 20 April 1869),was a German composer, tenor singer and conductor. He wrote over 400 ballads and songs. Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

Poet

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on…

Performances

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