Last weekend I was reflecting on my progress as a practitioner for my end of year critical commentary. One of the area of my practice that I want to improve upon over this next year is : Repertoire and contextual analysis.
In order to improve this, I have started a project which will entail, analysis of texts, research into Historical eras as well as researching into composers lives and possible influences on a compositions. I feel this research will give me even more to imagine about when I perform my pieces in order to give an exciting performance.
In this piece I will be focusing on a piece called ‘O Lieb’ by Liszt.
At first I created a word by word translation of the German Text and then I created my own poetic English translation:
Oh love, Oh love as long as you can!
Oh love, Oh love as long as you wish!
The hour will come, when you will stand by graves and mourn.
And worry, that your heart glows,
And cares for and carries love,
So long as his, a different heart beats lovingly in reply.
And whoever opens their heart to you.
Oh to him, love as much as you can!
And make each of his hour’s happy
And make no moment dull for him
And look after your happy tongue,
Too soon a bad word can be said
Oh God, even if it was not said with bad intentions
It can cause the other to leave and cry.
Oh Love, oh love as long as you can!
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-76) wrote the original German poem in 1845. In 1838, he wrote his first poems, ‘Gedichte’. The popularity of these poems enabled him to leave his career at the Bank as he received a pension from the Prussian King Frederick William IV. However in 1844, Freiligrath renounced his pension in order to release a collection of radical, political poetry. This publication exposed him to political persecution and Freiligrath fled Germany only to return in the last years of his life.
Franz Liszt (1811-86) was a virtuosic pianist, conductor and composer. Often Liszt’s Lieder can be found in two or more versions. In a letter to Josef Dessauer, Liszt wrote “Meine früheren Lieder sind moistens zu aufgebläht sentimental, und häufig zu vollgepropft in der Begleitung.” (My earlier songs are often too inflatedly sentimental, and frequently too overladen in the accompaniment). The later editions tend to be more serious, and the melody tries to match the syllabic rhythms of the text more. This song was later arranged for solo piano under the new title ‘Liebesträume’.
In this video the famous German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich recites the poem ‘O Lieb’ alongside Maximilian Schell who was a Swiss film and stage actor who later filmed extensive autobiographies of Dietrich. An interesting fact about Dietrich is that when her daughter was doing a Circus Benefit show in Madison Garden (1953) and all the famous stars were sitting on elephant backs, she asked if instead she could be the ring master. This fashion concept was then highlighted by Vogue and could be the inspiration for modern short shorts! 🙂
This video is really interesting as it shows the power of the text at the end of the clip. Where Dietrich appears lost for words. At the end I can roughly translate her words to:
“I know it might be considered a cheesy poem, but my mother loved it very much.
Maybe too sentimental nowadays…maybe.”
Her uneven spoken tone and possible whimpers could demonstrate how powerful these texts can effect peoples lives.
Here is one of my favorite recordings of the piece by the wonderful Diana Damrau. I would love to hear her perform live.
33 thoughts on “O Lieb – O Love”
Beautiful work, thank you Charlotte. With love, all the best for you
Merci, je regarde ce DVD, c’est fantastique, “s’il vous plais maestro …do mi sol do, do sol mi do” est Ma favouri.
So cute 😉 and did you like “evry body want to be a cat ?
Flowers, light, and energy for you
Yes I did like that song, watched it several times now.
Do you make your ears with the french version ?
All the best for you!!
Not yet but I will 🙂 I hope you are enjoying the weekend, I’m composing I’m using one of your pictures as an inspiration today I’ll let you know which one I choose.
A weekend work …. accounting estimates, models, socials statements ….. and a little;-) creation). I am deeply touched and honored that you my work inspires you to compose. I am anxious to see your work …. Would you use the last one I sent you on tweeter?
My best thought, all the best for you Charlotte !!
You certainly take all aspects seriously!
I love that Liszt. However I have to say that Diana has too much vibrato for my taste.
I’m composing at the moment, so this research helps with that too 😉
Lovely post, Charlotte. You have done your research in all areas, and your translation is, I am sure, a faithful one. I remember that song from my grammar school singing group. Marlene Dietrich certainly gave music her own original twist.
I’ll be visiting with one of my best school friends next week and she’s studying German at university so I’ll run it by her to double check ;). I like unique people.
Liszt is one of my favorite 19th century composers. Great song.
That’s cool I’m glad I hit in one of your favourites 🙂
I thought so too. Hope you’re keeping well 😉
Very interesting post, CHarlotte! I loved the Dietrich video in particular.
It’s amazing where this course takes me to discover new things 😉
All the best
beautiful post…like it 🙂
Thanks I did wonder about putting a taste of my homework on the blog but that’s the journey I’m on so…;)
Wow. “Love as long as you can”. What an exquisite sentiment. And what an exquisite post. From the bitter sweet earthiness of Marlene Dietrich to the piercing and vibrant love in the voice of Diana Damrau you hit the proverbial ball out of the park. Thank you.
Really pleased you enjoyed it TJ.
All the best
A truly lovely poem and I liked the song by Diana. I would like to hear you sing it. Xx
You will Gill hopefully by the end of the summer.
All the best
A beautiful translation of the poem. Diana Damrau’s rendition of Franz Liszt’s ‘O Lieb’ is superb. Love that piece! All the best in your research, Charlotte. 🙂
Thank you Iris, I always enjoy the research stage it’s quite relaxing.
The lines are wonderful. 🙂 You have done a great work by translating it. 🙂 Though I was having German in my college but still I’m not that good. 😉 Still…Ich bin gut. 🙂 I’m using WordPress less and using my other blog http://www.processingcreativity.com/.Guten Nacht 🙂
Guten Morgen Gaurab, ich bin gut alzo 🙂
Why have you switched blogs I enjoy your processing the life blog 🙂
What a beautiful poem. Thanks for translating since I don’t read or speak German! But it touched my heart. I’ve always enjoyed Marlene Dietrich in her movies (yes, I’m a big fan of the 30s and 40s!). And I enjoyed the rendition by Diana Damrau. Lovely post!
Thank you Linda, I loved reading your message tonight.
All the best
Contextual analysis sounds like a good thing to do for you to understand the musical work and its composer. I wish you’ll not only gain knowledge from your research but actually enjoy the process. (I would too) And thanks for sharing the lovely poem. From it I can see you’ve taken ownership of the piece. BTW, the ring tone of my cell phone is a Liszt melody, ‘La campanella’, played by the pianist Yundi Li. 😉
Yes I do enjoy it Arti, the blog is helping me to keep a nice log of them electronically too, it gives me good discipline.
I love that your ring tone is ‘La Campanella’ good taste 🙂
I really like the poem. The melody to the song is great. It’s always nice to be introduced to this style of music & work. Thanks.
Interesting work, Charlotte. I am curious about the line ‘and look after your happy tongue’.