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Oxford Lieder Live Online


Um Mitternacht (1892) Op. 59 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Fünf Lieder für Bariton und Klavier (Op. 59)

Um Mitternacht

Gelassen stieg die Nacht ans Land,
Lehnt träumend an der Berge Wand,
Ihr Auge sieht die goldne Waage nun
Der Zeit in gleichen Schalen stille ruhn;
Und kecker rauschen die Quellen hervor,
Sie singen der Mutter, der Nacht, ins Ohr
Vom Tage,
Vom heute gewesenen Tage.
Das uralt alte Schlummerlied,
Sie achtets nicht, sie ist es müd;
Ihr klingt des Himmels Bläue süsser noch,
Der flüchtgen Stunden gleichgeschwungnes Joch.
Doch immer behalten die Quellen das Wort,
Es singen die Wasser im Schlafe noch fort
Vom Tage,
Vom heute gewesenen Tage.

At Midnight

Night has serenely stepped ashore,
Leans dreaming against the mountain wall,
Watches now the golden scales of time
Quietly at rest in equipoise;
And the springs babble more boldly,
They sing in the ear of their mother, the night,
Of the day,
Of the day that has been today.
That old, that age-old lullaby,
She disregards, she is tired of it;
The blue of the sky sounds sweeter to her,
The evenly curved yoke of the fleeting hours.
But still the streams murmur on,
They babble in sleep as their waters run
Of the day,
Of the day that has been today.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Max Bruch was a German Romantic composer, teacher, and conductor. 

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Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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