Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder!

Do Not Look Into My Songs” I can sympathise with the poet Friedrich Rückert whilst reading his poem “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder”, in which he asks his audience not to read his poems whilst he is in the process of writing. I really like how he uses nature imagery to support his request. For example, he explains that we do not intrude on bees whilst they build their cells and create their delicious honey, so perhaps the listener too can wait until the poem is finished, with the promise that they will get first dibs (a first read).

Do Not Look Into My Songs!  

Do not look into my songs!
I lower my gaze,
As if caught in the act.
I dare not even trust myself
To watch them growing.
Your curiosity is treason.  

Bees, when they build cells,
Let no one watch either,
And do not even watch themselves.
When the rich honeycombs
Have been brought to daylight,
You shall be the first to taste!
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!

Meine Augen schlag’ ich nieder,
Wie ertappt auf böser Tat.
Selber darf ich nicht getrauen,
Ihrem Wachsen zuzuschauen.
Deine Neugier ist Verrat!
Bienen, wenn sie Zellen bauen,
Lassen auch nicht zu sich schauen,
Schauen selbst auch nicht zu.
Wenn die reichen Honigwaben
Sie zu Tag gefördert haben,
Dann vor allen nasche du!

I came across this poem whilst learning Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder song cycle. You can listen to this song on my album “Songs from the Balcony”. So that I could personally connect with the song and explore my interpretation, I thought about my own preparation process and how I would feel if someone listened before it was “finished”.

Preparing and learning new songs can be a very intimate and private process. When I learn a new song, there is a period when I need to do a lot of repetition and experimentation in order to memorise it. I will also need to sing certain phrases out of context and practice technical vocal drills to master the challenges the piece may present. This means that my practice does not always sound tuneful or relaxing to a listener. This can make me feel a little vulnerable or uneasy if I’m aware that someone can overhear my practice, but over the years I have learned not to be as shy or apologetic for my learning process. During my studies, George and I often discussed the different types of practice we would explore: note-bashing, memorising, translating, interpreting, dramatizing, and even performance practice. We often measured the effectiveness of our practice by how unfamiliar it sounded from the original score. This would suggest that we were working with a critical eye and focusing on the areas that needed extra attention rather than just playing from start to end.

There is however beauty in preparation and being able to watch something grow. For example, observing flowers grow from a single seed, can provide excitement at the first glimmer of a green stalk. Audiences like to see the bouquet at the end, but perhaps as artists, we need to be aware of the gardener’s curiosity and ability to admire a plant before its colourful petals have grown. However, Rückert encourages, that the artist does not feel rushed to deliver the musical bouquet before the song is truly mature. Good things come to those who wait.  

However, if I have tickled your inner beekeeper’s curiosity, you can watch this cheerful and concise video by Maddie Moate, where she explains how bees make honey.

I am thrilled to share with you that I was awarded first prize in the Grand Metropolitan International Music Competition.

91 thoughts on “Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder!

  1. Wahoo!! Congratulations, Charlotte! I am so pleased for you, especially after this miserable year. The future is still waiting for you.

    1. Thank you Martin for your confidence. My Dad changed the like button for me that you alerted me to did you manage to find it this week?
      Best wishes

      1. I don’t know who Claude Rains is hehe. It is there on my browser, I thought my likes were down.

    1. Thank you John I was.

      I’d paid to make some audition videos just before lockdown last year and they would be unusable after lockdown as most auditions ask you to use videos recorded within 6 – 12 months, so I used them to send to some online competitions, I got two wins, a second place in Italy and a semi finalist in the Lyra New York International Vocal competition (I wish I’d been able to record a new video for that semi-final because I’ve been doing a lot of work in lockdown but everywhere was closed so I had to go with an old recording).

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you. If I enjoyed bubbly I would but I don’t really care for it 😂 so it would be wasted on me.
      Best wishes

  2. Very interesting …. And it is the interest of making reports. As a photographer-videographer, I have the habit of becoming invisible to the people I work with. So that they remain natural, in their creative bubble.
    I hope that we will do reports on You and George to feed the curiosity of the public hihihihi

    Congratulation for your prize !!!!

    Take care of yourself, the best for you

    1. Merci Pascal. Yes I would imagine that being invisible to the subjects of a video at say a wedding would be important to get a natural reaction. I can’t wait until it is safe to get out of lockdown it is frustrating.
      Take care of you also.
      Best wishes

      1. Yes, that’s also why I have 2 cameras that do photo and video. this allows you to leave 1 on one stand for continuous filming and keep the other for other angles, zooms, etc. And I start to look for a Gopro.
        Also impatient for the end of the blockades and the opening of the borders xx

  3. A perfect prize for busy bees who worked together in lockdown to keep us entertained and keep your chops well honed. Big CONGRATULATIONS, Charlotte. You are well deserving. We used to keep bees, and we have lots of bees buzzing around our garden.

    1. Thank you Timothy, I was grateful for the win it’s been a frustrating year. Bees are so necessary but quite terrifying, if I get stung I get a bad reaction, not sure I’d keep a hive. Did you used to have the bee suit and collect the honey?
      Best wishes

      1. There was a local beekeeper who would collect and process the honey for us. If you react to stings, you don’t want to mess with bees. I had a cousin who died from a reaction to a bee sting a few years ago.

      2. Ooo heck, I’m allergic to beeswax of all things! Sound idea to get an expert in to collect and process the honey.

      3. Beeswax? That is an interesting allergy. I guess we can have allergies to anything. It’s what you don’t know you are allergic to is the problem. BTW Have you been vaccinated for COVID?

      4. No, i think they’re doing the 40 years and above at the moment and all the second jabs.

      5. That makes sense. All our family has had both vaccinations, and most everyone in my office has been vaccinated. One of the few things our state has done right is our vaccination rollout.

      6. That’s great, even the under 30’s? They’ve made women under 30 worry now about blood clots and say they won’t give AZ vaccines and there are also concerns with JJ ones so goodness knows what they will give us.

      7. Even younger people. At first you had to register and wait until the DOH scheduled an appointment. Laurie and I waited 3 months. But soon after we got our shots, I found a number anyone could call to make an appointment. I distributed the number to our staff at work, and several staff members called and got appointments the next day. Now anyone can schedule an appointment to be vaccinated at Walmart. It’s very easy now. Pretty much anyone who has not been vaccinated in New Mexico is either really lazy or doesn’t want to be vaccinated as far as I can tell.

        People have had wildly different reactions. We don’t have AZ here that I know of. People seem to react more to the Moderna than to the Pfizer, but I heard of bad reactions to both. I had the Pfizer, and I had zero reactions to either shot. I worked three 12 hour days moving out of our office building when I got my second shot. I think I was too busy to notice any reaction if I had any.

        I also have a suppressed immune system. I heard that people with suppressed immune systems have fewer reactions because our immune systems don’t know how to react. But we still get the same protection. I’ve heard of some younger people who reacted very badly with flu-like sysmtoms and high fevers for 12 to 24 hours after their second shot.

  4. Thank you 😊. I just want to get back out performing again now.
    Best wishes

  5. Congratulations Charlotte. Good to see your hard work is being recognised xx 👏🎶🍾🥂

  6. Claude Rains was the first actor to play The Invisible Man in films: I am a fount of unimportant information. When Christopher Eccleston played a character who could turn invisible in the first series of ‘Heroes’ they named his character Claude Rains, which disappointed me because it would have been so much smarter to have the guy’s name a secret but he called himself Claude Rains because… You had the seeds of the series’ total flop afterwards in that one moment (see? not just unimportant but useless too)

    1. No information is useless. I watched some of the Heroes but they took it off Netflix, I quite liked the girl that could mend herself if I’ve got the right series.

    1. Thank you I was thrilled to get the award. I hope that you are well.

      Best wishes

  7. Wonderful, Charlotte. Congrats on the AWARD.
    PS: Kudos to the judges.
    And yet another fine, informational post even if the ‘like’ is pulling a Claude Raines (A very fine London born actor. Casablanca, Notorious, The Invisible Man)

    1. Thank you, Don, and yes thanks to the Judges I value their time to listen to all the video applications. I googled Claude Rains I recognised his face and as coincidence would have it he’s a fellow scorpio born on the 10th November the day before me but in 1889.

      Best wishes

  8. Charlotte, congratulations on your first prize in the Grand Metropolitan International Music Competition!

    I love the poem, and can relate to your process of learning new material. 🙂

    1. Thank you Lavinia, I’m still celebrating with all your lovely comments. I’m happy you can relate to my process.
      Have a super weekend.

      Best wishes

  9. Fab-u-lous! Congratulations Charlotte you so deserve it 🥰 I’m also unable to Like you blogs, each time I press it, it throws me out! But….. that could be me😳 a lovely blog with a beautiful poem, and I discovered the taste of honey with Tom, when he had his honey on toast! Yummy! 🥰😘😘😘

    1. I think Dad’s fixed the blog likes now with WordPress’s help he said the problem maybe coming through from facebook don’t know if that’s how to access the blog. I did wonder why my blog likes went down recently. Tom loved his honey toast it is yummy!

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Christine, it was lovely to receive the award, I’m grateful that some of these competitions went online to give us something to apply for.

      Have you ever seen those Butterfly and Bee Hotel’s they’re about as big as a bird box.

      Best wishes

  10. I like the way you have linked the poem to you own feelings – which I’d say you share with most creative people. Beautiful singing. Congratulations on the award

    1. Thank you Derrick, I was really very happy to get the e-mail and grateful to the competition for going online and to the judges who watched all the video applications.

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Marina, I was thrilled to get the e-mail. I have been grateful to the four competitions I entered this year for going online and allowing video entries. I haven’t been able to compete in many competitions for a couple of years because I’ve been working thankfully. This year has been a blow but also an opportunity.

      Best wishes

  11. Congratulations for the medal. THE question: with the vaccination campaign well underway in the UK, is there the slimmest chance of reopening live performing arts?

    1. Thank you Brian, I’m really hoping we do re-open fully in June, the vaccination program is going well and the quarantine of flights from peak covid areas does seem to have slowed things down but we’ll only really know once things re-open properly.

      Best wishes

  12. Congratulations, Charlotte. We’re still rooting for you and George. As for sharing Projects before completion, it’s fun and interesting to share Before-and-After images of my Photographs. Where an image begins may look very different from where it ends. As for waiting for a Work to “mature,” it’s a tough lesson I’ve had to learn during my Career. Presenting Work that is not the best it could be only hurts your chances of success.

    1. Thank you, Eric, George and I appreciate it. I’ve been liking your new Studio images and now you’re doing podcasts you’ll have to let me know how that works out for you. I had a little listen early but I only had five minutes so I’ll return over the weekend. There is another side to waiting for work to ‘mature’ though and it’s if you pass up on a wonderful opportunity it might not come up again, it is a fine balance for sure.

      Best wishes always,

  13. So much to enjoy in this post Charlotte. First of all, hearty congratulations on your win! What a thrill. I can empathise with your creative process as I am in my umpteenth version of a manuscript. Every time I show it to my agent and she doesn’t go for it, I become insecure about my writing until I can pull myself out of it. And I can understand how making what your neighbours might consider out of context sounds would make you feel self-conscious, but it’s so necessary for the voice warmup and song practice, isn’t it? I particularly noticed at our Dawn Service for Anzac Day a couple of days ago that when I got up to sing hymns and the national anthem my voice was totally locked. It was like someone had their hands around my throat. I’d barely even spoken ten words by the time we were called on to sing. And how lovely to learn that much more about bees!
    Final treat, seeing that lovely photo of you and George sharing a laugh and tender moment. Keep smiling you two!

    1. Thank you Gwen, I’m so happy you’re all pleased for me – it has allowed me to celebrate the award more. I have songs like that; songs I love to sing but some judges and selectors don’t feel they are right for my voice so you do have to pull yourself out of critique, it’s great that you can. Yes warming up the voice properly is essential for a healthy voice. I’ve sat in the audience in some competitions and had to go on cold without chance to warm-up when my turn came and it is awkward, I try to pop out of the room now and at least hum for a few minutes. We do laugh a lot together.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte 😊

    1. Thank you, my brother Matt took the photographs. It was nice and quiet on a Sunday morning in the City of London.

      Best wishes

  14. Charlotte, HUGE congratulations. You are a super star. I can’t wait for things to return to some normalcy so you can sing around the world!
    Your preparation for a song is much like my preparation for giving a lecture. I always write mine out, then print, then create a power point with illustrations and then REHEARSE, at least 4-5 times before I actually give it. This ensures that I remember all the detail I’ve added and can speak clearly and smoothly without hesitations.

    1. These online competitions have allowed me to feel like I’m singing all around the World. I got into the Semi-final of the Lyra New York competition by video entry, one of my New York friends is in the final and I have my fingers crossed for her. I was very grateful to get this boost of an award. It has been interesting for me to see which videos were preferred in different rounds.

      I quite enjoy power points presentations if I’m prepared and you are so right it is all about rehearsal like anything.

      Best wishes

  15. Dear Charlotte,
    I am not surprised 1 iota.
    Your best is yet to come.
    I just love listening to Songs From Our Balcony.
    I’ve stared a new Art Gown, and it’s while I am creating the gowns, that I love to listen to it the most.
    I always find inspiration for the next creative move.
    LOL! I’ve been on GLAM blog for awhile, just trying to have fun, and thought this would give everyone a chuckle.
    Adored your comment on the Boogapony post!
    Will head over to Art Gowns later, to answer your comment. I won’t log in so it will still be my feet, not me in my gown~


    PS: the poem is lovely!
    Also, I understand what you are saying about when you practice, or try new things.
    Norm is always doing odd things with sound. He has many instruments, and tries to learn them all.
    It’s always a bit painful at the beginning, when he’s just starting to learn.
    This might sound a tad selfish… but I hope he never buys a saxophone!

    1. I am really grateful for your confidence in me Resa, and it has been lovely that you see each little step forward I make. I was really happy that some of the competitions put their process online this year and allowed video entries. Creating that cd kept us busy and sane during the second half of lockdown and has at least given me somethings singing related to blog about each week.

      Your art gowns are just fantastic as are you.

      I’d love to learn the clarinet but I don’t have the time, I keep up with my piano practice but nowhere near enough. I love the saxophone sound though! Maybe not in the early stages though, when I lived in Student Halls in London the corridors were thick with the sound of instrument practice.

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Alex this means a lot to me so I’m glad you are 😊 for me. Just reading my comments is a perfect celebration.

      Best wishes

  16. Hi Charlotte, Congratulations on winning first place in the music competition. I know you have put in plenty of hard work. Performing Arts has to be one of the more difficult fields to work and be successful. I hope you and George are doing well. Have you finished lockdown, or close to reaching the end? Locally and statewide, our COVID numbers are on the increase. The broader statewide restrictions have been lifted and the responsibility given to the local town or county, which is a huge mistake.

    Elizabeth’s music booking is a tentative go for late July. When we get back from the equestrian tour, it is right into rehearsal for the gig. It appears the sponsoring restaurant is spending serious money for her concert. The other restaurants are going back to their karaoke nights. It’s a combination of curiosity and excitement for now. Fingers are crossed we stay on schedule.

    You and George, stay well, stay safe. David

    1. I hope that you do stay on schedule David, why is local control a bad thing? There are some Counties in the UK that wish they had more say over lockdown. I’m glad to hear you have a booked gig ready something to look forward to. I’m just hoping that we open up this summer.

      Best wishes

      1. Here in Colorado, if the restrictions were left to local control, there would be no restrictions, no mask order, no physical distancing, etc. At the beginning of the pandemic, before the restrictions, much of the authority did lie at the local level. While Denver was aggressive to implement testing, mask wearing and the rest, the remaining local goernments weren’t so sure

      2. There is a lot of reluctance that precautions are important. One of the rural counties tried removing all restrictions. All of the small towns in that county saw an outbreak of COVID within a week of lifting restrictions, even among those who were fortunate to be vaccinated. In Colorado, the locals can’t bring themselves to do the right thing, even to encourage to stay with the precautions. That’s the God-honest truth.

      3. Ah I see the problem. Thank you for recognising my award I appreciate your compliment.

        Best wishes

  17. I love the details you share in learning a song and in writing a poem. How intimate the process can be, and that poem is beautiful. Congratulations on winning, too, Charlotte. That is fabulous! Clinking glasses of champagne for you! 💗🥂

    1. Thank you Lauren, I love a lot of the poetry that German composers used. Thank you for your congratulations I appreciate your lovely message. Cheers.

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Philip hope you are having a lovely weekend.
      Best wishes

  18. Charlotte,
    Love your analysis here. As a retired girls high school volleyball coach I know the joy of drudgery in the making of a well played game. There are numerous days of practice, repetition, physical and mental challenges as well as the anticipation of the unexpected. But when in the throes of the contest and the cream rises to the top and more often than not secures the victory we then know that the joyful drudgery was not “all for not”.

    1. I enjoyed volleyball Alan but couldn’t allocate the hours of practice the team game required to work as a cohesive unit, same with hockey I played a lot until the end of year 8. I love working as part of a team on stage and well co-ordinated practice is very important to that especially when rehearsal times are short and people are expecting you to arrive well prepared.
      Thank you for visiting.
      Best wishes

  19. Congratulations, Charlotte! Excuse this comment being so late – I am still trying to catch-up with all my blog reading and not having much luck or time! I so admire your dedication and work-ethic. If anyone deserves to do well, you do!

    1. Thank you Clare, no worries I quite understand some times the blog gets away from us all. Always lovely to hear from you.
      Best wishes

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