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German text of Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody Op. 53

November 13, 2009

The text of Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53.  The text is in German and is from Harzreise im Winter by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  English translation to follow.

J. Brahms

Rhapsodie für Alt, Männerchor und Orchester, op. 53

Aber abseits wer ist’s?

Im Gebüsch verliert sich der Pfad.

Hinter ihm schlagen

Die Sträuche zusammen,

Das Gras steht wieder auf,

Die Öde verschlingt ihn.

Ach, wer heilet die Schmerzen

Des, dem Balsam zu Gift ward?

Der sich Menschenhass

Aus der Fülle der Liebe trank?

Erst verachtet, nun ein Verächter,

Zehrt er heimlich auf

Seinen eigenen Wert

In ungenügender Selbstsucht

Ist auf deinem Psalter,

Vater der Liebe, ein Ton

Seinem Ohre vernehmlich,

So erquicke sein Herz!

Öffne den umwölkten Blick

Über die tausend Quellen

Neben dem Durstenden

In der Wüste!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Peta permalink
    November 15, 2009 6:54 am

    Your timing in posting this text is impeccable. Two days later, I am searching the web for it, and there it is… Standing by for the English translation as I listen… Many thanks.

    • November 15, 2009 10:53 am

      Thanks, though it may be a while before I get a translation posted. I am going to try to post translations of the texts of four of Brahms’s shorter choral works.

    • January 15, 2012 1:55 am

      Well Peta: (probably you posted your comment on the Brahms Alto Rhapsody Eng. translation 1 1/2 years ago) I am waiting to see Barry Mitchell’s post of this Eng. translation of Op. 53 in Jan. of 2012. I am playing an organ arr. of the final Adagio section of said Alto Rhapsody, and I think I have a very close idea of what the Eng. trans. should be; if nothing else, I will list that in the program for Jan. 20, 2012, here in Sussex County, DE, So. DE chap. of the American Guild of Organists; Stephen W. Klyce, AAGO, Ch.M.

  2. November 26, 2009 4:12 pm

    Looks like you are a real professional. Did you study about the issue? hrhr

  3. November 27, 2009 2:09 pm

    I try to keep up with things. I’ve now put my Linkedin profile on the blog so that people can see my background if they are interested.

  4. December 8, 2009 4:21 am

    Oh my god enjoyed reading this blogpost. I submitted your feed to my reader.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    January 15, 2012 1:44 am

    Brahms Alto Rhapsoy Op. 53; My Q. it says in your writeup above the German Text: English text to follow — where is the Eng. text? Stephen Klyce;

  6. January 15, 2012 1:46 am

    You list Eng. translation to follow just above giving the Goethe German text of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsoy, Op. 53; where is the Eng. translation? Not visible here.

    • January 15, 2012 10:49 am

      Thanks for reminding me I still have to do this. I haven’t been able to make more than a couple of posts in 2011 but I have plans to make a lot more posts in 2012 and adding this translation is now on my to-do list.

  7. Terence Kinnear permalink
    September 29, 2013 8:27 am

    A few typos:

    Aber abseits wer ist’s

    Zehrt er heimlich auf

    Seinem Ohre vernehmlich

  8. October 8, 2013 5:19 pm

    Thanks for pointing this out, I have made the changes you suggest.

  9. johhunold permalink
    March 23, 2017 9:09 pm

    Mein Gott, ist das schön und von unendlicher Tiefe. Wie sehr doch die Musik die Wirkung des Texts noch verstärkt!

    • Stephen W Klyce permalink
      May 11, 2017 11:33 pm

      Wirklich merksvoll. Wir haben das und Deutsches Requiem letzten Woche in Salisbury Maryland beim Orlchester gesungen.

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