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Maiblumen blühten überall for Soprano and String Sextet (1898)

Maiblumen blühten überall for Soprano and String Sextet

Maiblumen blühten überall;
er sah mich an so trüb und müd.
Im Faulbaum rief eine Nachtigall:
die Blüte flieht! die Blüte flieht!
Von Düften war die Nacht so warm,
so warm wie Blut, wie unser Blut;
und wir so jung und freudenarm.
Und über uns im Busch das Lied,
das schluchzende Lied: die Glut verglüht!
Und er so treu und mir so gut.
In Knospen schoß der wilde Mohn,
es sog die Sonne unsern Schweiß.
Es wurden rot die Knospen schon,
da wurden meine Wangen weiß.
Ums liebe Brot, ums teure Brot
floß doppelt heiß ins Korn sein Schweiß,
der wilde Mohn stand feuerrot;
es war wohl fressendes Gift der Schweiß,
auch seine Wangen wurden weiß,
und die Sonne stach im Korn ihn tot.

Lilies-of-the-valley blossomed everywhere

Lilies-of-the-valley blossomed everywhere;
he gazed at me with such sad and weary eyes.
In the berry-bearing alder a nightingale called:
blossoms flee! Blossoms flee!
The night was so warm with scents,
as warm as blood, our blood;
and we so young and joyless.
And the song above us in the bush,
the sobbing song: passion is fading!
And he so true and so loving to me.
Wild poppy buds sprang up,
the sun sucked our sweat.
The buds were already turning red –
my cheeks were turning white.
To earn dear and cherished bread
his sweat flowed doubly warm into the corn,
the wild poppy stood red as fire;
his sweat was corroding poison,
and his cheeks too turned white,
and the sun burned him to death in the corn.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.

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Richard Fedor Leopold Dehmel was a German poet and writer. His poems use a range of metrical patterns, and have been set to music by composers such as Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, and Kurt Weill. His poetry often focused on themes of love and sensuality, and he was tried for obscenity and blasphemy in the late 1890s.

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