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Songs of Gurre

Word count: 2686

Song Cycle by Arnold Franz Walter Schoenberg (1874 - 1951)

Original language: Gurrelieder

1a.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Waldemar:
 Now the dusk softens
 ev'ry sound from sea and land,
 the sailing clouds cozily settling down 
 at heaven's end.
 Soundless peace closed down
 the forest's airy gates,
 and the sea's clear waves
 rocked themselves to rest.
 In the west the sun casts off
 her crimsom dress
 and dreams in her bed of waves
 of next day's splendour.
 Now not the tiniest leaf stirs 
 in the forest's magnificent house;
 now not the merest sound is ringing:
 be at rest, mind, be at rest!
 And ev'ry power is ensconced
 in its own dream's arms,
 and it drives me back to myself,
 peacefully quiet, without a care.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

1b.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Tove:
 Oh, if the moon's beams softly glide,
 and peace and quiet spread in space,
 not water seems to me the sea's width,
 and that forest seems to be neither bush nor tree.
 It's not the clouds, that adorn the sky,
 and valley and hills not the earth back,
 and changing forms and colours, just idle imaginings,
 and all of this just pale reflections of a god's imagination.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

1c.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Waldemar:
 Charger! My charger! What makes you tread so wearily!
 No, I see the distance melting
 Swiftly under your nimble hooves.
 But faster yet you have to hurry
 still into the denseness of the forest,
 while I meant, without delay
 soon to charge into Gurre.
 Now the forest retreats, already I see the castle high,
 enclosing my Tove, while the forest behind us
 closes to an ominous rampart;
 Look! The forest's shadows spread
 wide over field and fen!
 Afor they reach Gurre's land,
 I have to stand at Toves gate.
 Afor what soundeth now,
 dies down, to never sound again,
 your nimble feet, my swift,
 Must pound on Gurre's bridge,
 afor, the falling leaf -
 there afloat,
 may reach the stream,
 in Gurre's courtyard your neigh
 will merrily resound!
 The shadows spread, the sound dies down,
 Now fall, leaf, you may fade away:
 Volmer has seen Tove!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

1d.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Tove:
 Stars jubilate, the sea, it glows, 
 presses to the coast its throbbing heart, 
 leaves, they whisper, their dewey jewels trembling,
 the sea breeze embraces me in brazen folly.
 The weathercock sings, and the battlements high bow,
 lads strut proudly with fiery gazes,
 swollen with pride, full of life
 to enthrall the blossoming maidens in vain,
 roses, they crane their neck, to gaze afar,
 torches, they burn and daringly glow,
 the forest, it takes its spell away;
 hark, in the town now dogs are barking!
 And the rising fleet of stairs to the haven
 lead up the noble hero,
 until, on the highest tread
 he falls into my open arms.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

1e.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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[]

Waldemar
 Thus dance the angels not in front the throne of God,
 as now dances the world for me.
 Lover sings not the harp's song,
 than Waldemar's soul to you.
 But prouder not sat Christ beside his father
 his fight for salvation over,
 than Waldemar proud now and royal is 
 at Tovelile's side.
 The blessed couldn't more fervently crave to find 
 the heavenly ground,
 than I your kiss, as I saw shining 
 Gurre's battlements from Oeresund.
 And I would never give the treasure by battlements 
 faithfully guarded 
 in exchange for heaven's splendour and entrancing sound
 and all the heavenly hosts!

Tove:
 Now for the first time I tell you:
 "King Volmer, I love you!"
 Now for the first time I kiss you,
 And fling my arm around you.
 And speakst thou, that I thus had earlier said
 and given my kiss to you,
 so I say: "The king is a fool,
 who cherishes idle trinkets."
 And speakst thou:" Ay, I am a fool,"
 so I say: "No, the king is right;"
 but you answer: "No, I'm not,"
 so I say: "The king is wicked."
 Because while thinking of you
 all my roses I kissed to death.

Waldemar:
 It's midnight,
 and unredeemed dynasties' souls
 rise from forgotten, caved-in graves,
 and imploringly gaze
 toward the light of the castle
 or shack.
 And the wind mockingly 
 Wafts them with harp music
 and tankards pounding and lovesongs.
 And they dwindle and sigh:
 "Our time's run out."
 On heaving waves my head sways,
 my hand feels the beat of my heart,
 overfull with the zest of life, and over me stream
 a purple rain of glowing kisses,
 and my lips rejoice:
 "Now my time has come!"
 But time rushes by,
 and I too 
 will rise at midnight
 some day as if dead,
 the winding sheet 
 will pull up
 against the cold wind blowing
 and drag on in the fading moon's light
 painstricken
 with the grave's heavy cross,
 scratch your beloved name 
 into the earth's face
 and sink to the ground and moan:
 "Our time is over!"

Tove:
 You sent me a loving gaze
 and lower your eyes,
 but joy urges your hand into mine,
 the urge dies away;
 but you give it back with a kiss on my lips
 and why do you still sigh as if bemoaning a loved one,
 while just one gaze 
 can flare up to a flaming kiss?
 The sparkling stars up in the sky
 fade away at dusk, but sparkle anew each midnight's time
 in eternal splendour.
 So short is death
 like peaceful sleep
 from dawn to dusk.
 And when you awake
 from your slumber
 in refreshed beauty you see
 the radiant young bride.
 So let us finish 
 the golden goblet
 to the honour of Him,
 the powerful beauty bringing death.
 Because with a smile we go 
 to our graves,
 fading away in a blissful kiss.

Waldemar:
 How strange you are Tove!
 So rich I am now through you, 
 that no wish is left unfulfilled;
 So light is my heart,
 so easy is my mind,
 a watchful peace in my soul.
 It's so peaceful in me,
 so strangely contented.
 The urge to converse rises to my lips,
 but goes to sleep again.
 I feel like your heart
 is beating in my breast,
 as if my breath, Tove,
 could rise your breast.
 And our thoughts I see
 emerging and mingling
 like clouds coming together,
 and united they sway in ever changing images.
 And my soul is at peace,
 I look into your eyes 
 and have no wish to talk;
 how strange you are, Tove.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

1f.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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Voice of the turtle dove:
 Doves of Gurre! Full of sorrow I am,
 while on my way across the island!
 Come! Listen!
 Dead is Tove! Night in her eyes,
 Which were the kings daylight!
 Silent is her heart,
 but the King's heart is wildly beating,
 Dead and wild as yet!
 Oddly like a boat
 on heaving waves, if the one, to whose welcome the planks have bent
 in tribute, the ship's helmsman is dead, entangled in the weeds of the deep.
 Nobody brings them news,
 impassable the path.
 Like two streams have been their thoughts,
 flowing side by side.
 Where do Tove's thoughts flow now?
 The King's are oddly winding,
 searching for those of Tove,
 and can't find them.
 Far did I fly, laments to search, and found aplenty!
 The coffin I saw on the King's shoulders,
 Henning supported him;
 dark was the night, a single torch burned
 beside the path;
 the Queen held it, high on the donjon,
 full of vengeful musings.
 Tears she denied herself,
 but glistened in her eye.
 Far I flew, laments to search, and found aplenty!
 The King I saw, with the coffin he drove, in a peasant's dress.
 His charger,
 that often had carried him to victory,
 was pulling the coffin.
 Wild was the King's eye,
 searching for that gaze,
 irritated listened the King's heart,
 for that word.
 Henning talks to the King,
 but still he is searching word and gaze.
 The King opens Tove's coffin,
 Stares and listens with quivering lips,
 Tove is silent!
 Far I flew, laments to search, and found aplenty!
 A monk went to pull the bell rope
 for the evening's blessings [prayers];
 but then he saw the coachman
 and heard the bad news:
 The sun sank, while the bell
 rang out the death knell.
 Far I flew, laments to search
 and death!
 Helwig's falcon it was, who
 cruelly tore apart Gurre's dove.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

2.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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Waldemar:
 Lord God, do you know what you were doing,
 when my little Tove died?
 You drove me from the last safe hold
 I had won for my happiness!
 Lord, you should be ashamed
 to kill a beggar's only lamb!
 Lord God, I am a King myself,
 and as that, it is my firm belief
 that I must never
 rob a subservient's last light.
 You are doing wrong:
 Thus being a tyrant not a ruler!
 Lord God, your heavenly hosts
 endlessly sing your praise,
 but you badly need somebody
 to tell you where you are wrong.
 And who, pray, will be so daring?
 Let me, Lord, wear your court jester's cap!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

3a.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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The wild chase

Waldemar:
 Rise, King Waldemar's
 valued [worthy] men!
 Brace yourself
 With the rusty sword,
 fetch from the church
 the dusty shield,
 frightfully painted with horrible images.
 Lift your horses' decaying corpses,
 adorn them with gold,
 and use your spurs on them:
 To the town of Gurre your meant to go,
 Today is the rising of the dead!

Farmer:
 The coffin's lid
 Rattles and bangs.
 Heavily pounding, it 
 trots through the night.
 Races down from the hill,
 rolls over the ravines
 tinkling gaily like gold!
 Jingling and jangling
 through the armour-house they go,
 throwing and pushing with ancient devices,
 rumbling of stones along the cemetry,
 sparrowhawks diving
 down from the spire and mew,
 open and closed bang the churche's gate!

Waldemar's men:
 Hola!

Farmer:
 There it goes!
 Quickly draw a blanket over our ears!
 Thrice I make the Holy 
 Cross, swiftly 
 for the sake of humans and house,
 for horse and cows;
 three times I use Christ's name,
 to protect the seed on the fields.
 My body I wisely use the cross on,
 where the Lord hence was marked
 with wounds,
 so I am protected
 against the nightly threat,
 against the arrows of elves and the danger of trolls.
 Finally I barricade the door
 with steel and stones
 so nothing bad can 
 enter through the door.

Waldemar's men:
 Hail, oh King, at Gurres beach!
 Now we chase across the island!
 Holla!
 To send arrows from stringless bows,
 with hollow eyes and bony hands,
 to hit the stag's shadowy image,
 so that meadow dew seeps from the wound.
 Holla! The gallow's ravens followed us,
 Over beech-tops trot the horses,
 Holla!
 So we hunt as commonly told
 every night until the jugement day.
 Hola! Houssa hound! Houssa mount!
 Just a short time the hunting takes!
 Here the castle is, like in ancient times!
 Holla!
 Loki's oats to the nags pour,
 let's go thrive on old glory.

Waldemar:
 With Tove's voice whispers the forest, 
 with Tove's eyes watches the lake,
 with Tove's smile sparkle the stars,
 the cloud swells like the bosom's snow.
 The senses hasten, to catch up with her,
 Thoughts fight for her image.
 But Tove is here and Tove is there,
 Tove's afar and Tove is near.
 Tove, is it you, by witchcraft
 bound to the lakes and forests glory?
 The dead heart, it swells and widens,
 Tove, Tove
 Waldemar yearns for you!

Klaus-Jester:
 "A rare bird an eel is,
 mostly living in the water,
 yet every now and then
 in the moonlight he comes
 to seek the shore."
 Thus I often sang 
 to my Lord's guests,
 but now the shoe fits 
 mine own feet.
 I don't have an open house myself
 and very simply do I live
 no one inviting
 and no high life, no carousing,
 and yet on my expenses
 many an impudent blighter lives,
 so I can't offer anything,
 whether I want it or not,
 but - I will give
 my night's rest,
 to one who can tell me, 
 why every night
 I circle the pond.
 That Palle Glob and Erik Paa
 do the same, I gather:
 They never belonged to the virtuous; 
 now they gamble,
 though on horseback,
 for the coolest place,
 far away from the hearth,
 should they go to hell.
 And the King,
 always out of his mind,
 as soons as the owls howl,
 and still calling for his maiden,
 who is dead for a year and a day,
 he too deserves
 to join the hunt.
 Because he has always been brutal,
 and caution was indeed advisable
 and an open eye to danger,
 him beeing the court-jester himself
 to the mighty Lord
 above the moon.
 I, who believed, in the grave
 you finally are at rest,
 that the mind stays with the dust
 in peaceful disposition,
 quietly recollecting for the grand court ball,
 where as brother Knut tells,
 resound the trumpets,
 where the righteous cheerfully
 dine on sinners as on capons -
 och, that I sit a-hunting,
 my nose to my horse's tail,
 dog-tired in a wild rush,
 were it not too late already,
 I'd hang myself.
 But oh, how sweet
 they say it will taste,
 when at last I reach heaven!
 True, the litany of my sins is long,
 but most of the guilt I wriggle myself out of!
 Who cloaked the naked truth?
 Who unfortunately got the thrashing?
 Yes, if there still is justice,
 then I am meant to see heaven's grace ...
 Oh, and then God will need mercy.

Waldemar:
 Judge, so strictly reigning above,
 You laugh at my pain [sorrow],
 but once upon a time,
 at resurrection-time,
 take it to your heart
 that I and Tove, we are one.
 So don't you ever tear apart our souls,
 mine to hell, hers to heaven,
 for with that you'd give me power
 to destroy your angels' force
 and gallop with my wild hunt
 into heaven's gates.

Waldemar's Men:
 The cock lifts his head and crows,
 carries the day in his beck,
 and from our swords drip
 rusty-toned the morning-dew.
 Time is up now!
 Our graves gape at us,
 and the earth sucks in
 what fears the light.
 Vanish! Vanish!
 Life comes up
 with power and glory,
 with action and throbbing heart,
 and we're destined to die,
 to pain and death,
 To the grave! To the grave!
 To dream-heavy peace.
 Oh, if only we could rest 
 in peace!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

3b.

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)



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The summerwind's wild chase
 Sir Goosefoot, Lady Pimpernel, now quickly duck,
 because the summer wind's wild chase is coming. 
 Hesitant the midges fly,
 from the  reed-lined grove,
 the wind engraved the water's silvery disc. 
 It's worse to come, than you ever imagined;
 Ho! Eerie sounds waft over from the beeches!
 It's St. Johns dragon with his red fiery tongue,
 and the black meadow dew, a shadow bleak and dead!
 What a surge and swaying!
 What a hustle and ringing!
 Into the ears of the corn slashes the foul-mooded wind,
 so the cornfield whispers and trembles.
 With its long legs the spin fiddles,
 and torn away is, what she busily wove.
 Tinkling the dew comes down from the hills,
 Stars shoot and vanish at the blink of an eye;
 Fleetingly the moth rustles through the hedge-rows,
 the frogs jump to watery shelter.
 Quiet! What may be the wind's wish?
 If the withered leaf it turns,
 it searches for those gone too early:
 spring's blue-white blossomy seams,
 the earth's fleeting summer-dreams -
 they are long gone to dust!
 But up to the tree-tops
 It goes to loftier spaces,
 Because up there, as intricate as dreams
 it thinks the blossoms to be!
 And with wondrous sounds
 in their leafy crowns
 it again greets the slender beauties.
 Look! Now that's over too.
 Over lofty steeps it twirls on free
 to the lake's blinking mirror,
 and there in the wave's neverending dance,
 in the star's pale reflection
 it peacefully rocks to sleep.
 How quickly the quiet came!
 Ah, how light and bright it was!
 Oh, rise from the blossom tiny lady-bird,
 And ask your beautiful wife to make a lively dance in the sunshine.
 Already the waves dance at the cliff's edge,
 already the snail glides through the grass,
 now the birds of the wood rise,
 dew shakes off the blossom from its wavy hair
 and looks out for the sun.
 Rise, rise, you flowers to bliss!
Mixed choir:
 Look! the colourful sun at heaven's seams
 greets her morning-dream from the east.
 Smiling she rises
 from the night's waves,
 letting beam from her bright brow
 glorious curls.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

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