Please note our box office phone number is currently unavailable Please email boxoffice@oxfordsong.org for all enquiries

Songs

Lorelei

by Clara Schumann

If you would like to use our texts and translations, please click here for more information.

RECORDINGS

Listen to Clara Schumann's 'Loreley' (Lorelei) here.

'Lorelei' performed at the 2021 Festival. Filmed by TallWall Media.



Text & Translation

View IPA

Lorelei
German source: Heinrich Heine

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabei,
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewalt’ge Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh’.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lorelei getan.

Loreley
English translation © Richard Stokes

I do not know what it means
That I should feel so sad;
There is a tale from olden times
I cannot get out of my mind.

The air is cool, and twilight falls,
And the Rhine flows quietly by;
The summit of the mountains glitters
In the evening sun.

The fairest maiden is sitting
In wondrous beauty up there,
Her golden jewels are sparkling,
She combs her golden hair.

She combs it with a golden comb
And sings a song the while;
It has an awe-inspiring,
Powerful melody.

It seizes the boatman in his skiff
With wildly aching pain;
He does not see the rocky reefs,
He only looks up to the heights.

I think at last the waves swallow
The boatman and his boat;
And that, with her singing,
The Loreley has done.

Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Lorelei
German source: Heinrich Heine

Loreley
English source: Richard Stokes

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
I do not know what it means
Daß ich so traurig bin;
That I should feel so sad;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
There is a tale from olden times
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
I cannot get out of my mind.

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
The air is cool, and twilight falls,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
And the Rhine flows quietly by;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
The summit of the mountains glitters
Im Abendsonnenschein.
In the evening sun.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
The fairest maiden is sitting
Dort oben wunderbar,
In wondrous beauty up there,
Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
Her golden jewels are sparkling,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.
She combs her golden hair.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
She combs it with a golden comb
Und singt ein Lied dabei,
And sings a song the while;
Das hat eine wundersame,
It has an awe-inspiring,
Gewalt’ge Melodei.
Powerful melody.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
It seizes the boatman in his skiff
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
With wildly aching pain;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
He does not see the rocky reefs,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh’.
He only looks up to the heights.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
I think at last the waves swallow
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
The boatman and his boat;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
And that, with her singing,
Die Lorelei getan.
The Loreley has done.

Composer

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann (1819-96) née Wieck is one of the most significant women in musical history. Apart from being a tremendously successful pianist and pedagogue, she wrote numerous songs alongside other works in various genres. She also transformed the…

Poet

Heinrich Heine

Heine was born of Jewish parents. Much of his early life was influenced by the financial power of his uncle Salomon Heine, a millionaire Hamburg banker, with whom he remained on an awkward footing for many years. After he had been educated in the…

Help us with a Donation

Enjoying our texts and translations? Help us continue to offer this service to all.

Make a Donation

Select Tickets