Hanns Eisler: Music

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In the Flower Garden RealAudio Buy
Text: Bertolt Brecht. Sung by Robyn Archer.

One of Eisler's most personal songs—based on an atypically wistful poem from Brecht's "Buckow Elegies"—is also one of his loveliest. The tension between the agitated piano accompaniment and the sad melody is a fine example of Eisler's dialectical style: the piano contradicts the voice, so the singer must avoid the temptation of interpreting the text in a sentimental or egotistical manner. Certainly, Brecht's poem and Eisler's melody are introspective—but not self-absorbed. Instead, the turbulence of the piano's accompaniment directs the listener's attention to the world outside the garden walls.

Am See, tief zwischen Tann und Silberpappel,
Beschirmt von Mauer und Gesträuch ein Garten,
So weise angelegt mit monatlichen Blumen,
Daß sie vom März bis zum Oktober blühn,
Hier in der Früh, nicht allzu häufig,
Sitz ich und wünsche mir,
Auch ich mög alle Zeit in den verschiednen Wettern,
Guten, schlechten,
Dies oder jenes Angenehme schreiben.

Beside the lake, close to the silver poplars,
hedged round by walls and bushes lies a garden:
so wisely planned to be laid out with monthly flowers
that from March till October it's in bloom.
Here in the mornings, not that often,
I sit and linger wishing
I could also always have whatever the weather,
sunny, cloudy,
something or other just as pleasant on show.

Music sample © 1998 Larrikin Records. Another translation is in John Willett's "Bertolt Brecht: Poems 1913-1956" © 1979 Methuen London Ltd. German text (Brecht, revised by Eisler) courtesy of the Lied and Songs Text Page.

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