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What was the poem within this sonata?
July 13, 2012 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Ridiculously specific classical music question: What is the poem/program note that is supposed to be read before the final movement in Hindemith's 'Sonata for Alto Horn in E flat' (1943)? In the original German and the English translation, if possible.

I played this piece years ago, and I loved the poem that was supposed to be said by the instrumentalist. My family asks me to say something in German, and I would love to be able to recite this piece.
posted by Peter Petridish to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can hear part of the poem in the sample on Amazon here. This track is also on Spotify. Transcribed from there:


Is not the sounding of a horn to our busy souls
Even as the scent of blossoms wilted long ago
Or the discolored folds of musty tapestry
Or crumbling leaves of ancient yellow tomes

Like a sonorous visit from those ages
Which counted speed by straining horses' gallop
And not by lightning prisoned up in cables
And when to live and learn they ranged the countryside
Not just the closely printed pages

The cornucopia's gift calls forth in us a pallid yearning, melancholy longing

The old is good not just because it's passed
Nor is the new supreme because we live with it
And never yet a man felt greater joy than he could bear or truly comprehend.

Your task, it is, amidst confusion, rush and noise
To grasp the lasting, calm, and meaningful
And finding it anew, to hold and treasure it.

(No idea where you might find the German.)
posted by cacophony at 11:23 AM on July 13, 2012


And in ten minutes, Metafilter has found what I have been (passively) searching for for 14 yeast. Mefi Wolfdog reports:

Das Posthorn (Zwiegespra(e)ch)

Hornist:
Tritt uns, den Eiligen, des Hornes Klang
nicht (gleich dem Dufte la(e)ngst verwelkter Blu(e)ten,
gleich bru(e)chigen Brokats entfa(e)rbten Falten,
gleich mu(e)rben Bla(e)ttern fru(e)h vergilbter Ba(e)nde)
als to(e)nender Besuch aus jenen Zeiten nah,
da Eile war, wo Pferde im Galopp sich mu(e)hten,
nicht wo der unterworfene Blitz in dra(e)hten sprang;
da man zu leben und zu lernen das Gela(e)nde
durchjagte, nicht allein die engbedruckten Spalten.
Ein mattes Sehnen, wehgelaunt Verlangen
entspringt fu(e)r uns dem Cornucopia.

Pianist:
Nicht deshalb ist das Alte gut, weil es vergangen,
das Neue nicht vortrefflich, weil wir mit ihm gehen;
und mehr hat keiner je an Glu(e)ck erfahren,
als er befa(e)higt war zu tragen, zu verstehen.
An dir ist's hinter Eile, la(e)rm und Mannigfalt
das Sta(e)ndige, die Stille, Sinn, Gestalt
zuru(e)ckzufinden und neu zu bewahren.


The Posthorn (Dialogue)

Horn Player:
Is not the sounding of a horn to our busy souls (even as the scent of blossoms wilted long ago, or the discolored folds of musty tapestry, or crumbling leaves of ancient yellowed tomes) like a sonorous visit from those ages which counted speed by straining horses' gallop, and not by lightening prisoned up in cables; 
and when to live and learn they ranged the countryside, not just the closely printed pages? 
The cornucopia’s gift calls forth in us a pallid yearning, melancholy longing.

Pianist:
The old is good not just because it's past, nor is the new supreme because we live with it, and never yet a man felt greater joy than he could bear or truly comprehend. 
Your task it is, amid confusion, rush, and noise to grasp the lasting, calm, and meaningful, and finding it anew, to hold and treasure it.



Thanks Metafilter!
posted by Peter Petridish at 11:29 AM on July 13, 2012


Found it for you, from here. It's called "Das Posthorn". I also mistranscribed the first line of the pianist, which should be, "The old is good not just because it's past". I also didn't indicate that it's actually a dialogue between the hornist and the pianist, which is noted here:

das posthorn
hornist:
tritt uns, den eiligen, des hornes klang
nicht (gleich dem dufte längst verwelkter blüten,
gleich brüchigen brokats entfärbten falten,
gleich mürben blättern früh vergilbter bände)
als tönender besuch aus jenen zeiten nah,
da eile war, wo pferde im galopp sich mühten,
nicht wo der unterworfene blitz in drähten sprang;
da man zu leben und zu lernen das gelände
durchjagte, nicht allein die engbedruckten spalten.
ein mattes sehnen, wehgelaunt verlangen
entspringt für uns dem cornucopia.

pianist:
nicht deshalb ist das alte gut, weil es vergangen,
das neue nicht vortrefflich, weil wir mit ihm gehen;
und mehr hat keiner je an glück erfahren,
als er befähigt war zu tragen, zu verstehen.
an dir ist's hinter eile, lärm und mannigfalt
das ständige, die stille, sinn, gestalt
zurückzufinden und neu zu bewahren.
posted by cacophony at 11:30 AM on July 13, 2012


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