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Heimweh III: Ich sah’ als Knabe Blumen blühn (1873) Op. 63 no.9

Heimweh III: Ich sah’ als Knabe Blumen blühn

Ich sah als Knabe Blumen blühn—
Ich weiß
nicht mehr, was war es doch?
Ich sah die Sonne drüber glühn—
Mich dünkt, ich seh’ es noch.
Es war ein Duft, es war ein Glanz,
Die Seele sog ihn durstend ein.
Ich pflückte sie zu einem Kranz—
Wo mag er blieben sein?
Ich such’ an jedem Blümchen nach
Um jenen Schmelz, um jenes Licht,
Ich forsche jeden Sommertag—
Doch solche find’ ich nicht.
Ihr wußtet nimmer, was ich trieb?
Ich suchte meinen alten Kranz.
Er war so frisch, so licht, so lieb—
Es war der Jugendglanz.

Longing for home III: As I boy, I saw flowers in bloom

As a boy, I saw flowers in bloom,
I can no longer remember how it was.
I saw the sun shine above them—
I seem to see it still.
There was a fragrance and a glow
That my parched soul drank in.
I picked the flowers to make a wreath—
What can have become of it?
In every little flower I seek it—
That lustre and that light,
I search every summer’s day,
But find no such flowers again.
You never knew what I was after?
I was looking for my lost wreath,
It was so fresh, so bright, so dear—
It was the gleam of youth.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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