Transfigured Night

A poem by Richard Dehmel :

Music by

Arnorld Schönberg

[Arnorld Schönberg (1874-1951)
Verklärte Nacht op. 4 (1899)]

Ann, Chris and Pia

    Transfigured Night
    A poem by Richard Dehmel
    Revised version for string orchestra

    Verklärte Nacht
    in German
    La Nuit
    Variations pour Orchestre

    Two People are walking through a bare, cold wood;
    the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze.
    The moon moves along above tall oak trees,
    there is no wisp of cloud to Obscure the radiance
    to which the black. jagged tips reach up.
    A woman's voice speaks:
    "I am carrying a child. and not by you,
    I am walking here with you in a state of sin.
    I have offended grievously against myself.
    I despaired of happiness,
    and yet I still felt a grievous longing
    for life's fullness, for a mother's joys
    and duties; and so I sinned.
    and so I yielded, shuddering. my sex
    to the embrace of a stranger.
    and even thought myself blessed.
    Now life has taken its revenge,
    and I have met you, met you. "
    She walks on ,stumbling.
    She looks up: the moon keeps pace.
    Her dark gaze drowns in light.
    A man's voice speaks:
    don not let the child you have conceived
    be a burden on your soul.
    Look, how brightly the universe shines !
    Splendour falls on everything around,
    you are voyaging with me on a cold sea,
    but there is the glow of an inner warmth
    from you in me, from me in you.
    That warmth will transfigure the stranger's child,
    and you will bear it me, begot by me.
    You have transfused me with splendour,
    you have made a child of me. "
    He puts an arm about her strong hips.
    Their breath embraces in the air.
    Two people walk on through the
    high, bright night.

    [ Translation by Mary Whittall]

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