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Alphorn (1878) TrV64


Ein Alphorn hör’ ich schallen,
Das mich von hinnen ruft,
Tönt es aus wald’gen Hallen?
Aus blauer Luft?
Tönt es von Bergeshöhe,
Von blumenreichem Tal?
Wo ich nur geh’ und stehe,
Hör’ ich’s in süßer Qual.
Bei Spiel und frohem Reigen,
Einsam mit mir allein,
Tönt’s, ohne je zu schweigen,
Tönt tief in’s Herz hinein.
Noch nie hab’ ich gefunden
Den Ort, woher es schallt,
Und nimmer wird gesunden
Dies Herz, bis es verhallt.


I hear the sound of an alpenhorn
That summons me on my way,
Does it sound from the forest?
Does it sound from the blue sky?
Does it sound from the mountain-top?
From a flower-filled valley?
Wheresoever I be,
I hear it in sweet torment.
Whether I’m at play or merrily dancing,
Or altogether alone,
It sounds, never falling silent,
Sounds deep into my heart.
I have never found
The source of the sound,
And this heart will never heal
Until it dies away.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Richard Georg Strauss was a German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is particularly well-known for his operas, Lieder, and tone poems. 

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Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner was a German poet, practicing physician, and medical writer.

He was born at Ludwigsburg in Württemberg. After attending the classical schools of Ludwigsburg and Maulbronn, he was apprenticed in a cloth factory, but, in 1804, owing to the good services of Professor Karl Philipp Conz, was able to enter the University of Tübingen. He studied medicine but also had time for literary pursuits in the company of Ludwig Uhland, Gustav Schwab and others. He took his doctor's degree in 1808, spent some time travelling, and then settled as a practising physician in Wildbad.

Here he completed his Reiseschatten von dem Schattenspieler Luchs (1811), in which his own experiences are described with caustic humour. He next collaborated with Uhland and Schwab in the Poetischer Almanach for 1812, which was followed by the Deutscher Dichterwald (1813), and in these some of Kerner's best poems were published. In 1815 he obtained the official appointment of district medical officer (Oberamtsarzt) in Gaildorf, and in 1818 was transferred to Weinsberg, where he spent the rest of his life.

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