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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) by Johannes Brahms:

From Musical Musings:
The year was 1868, but Brahms did not finish the piece until 1871. Brahms could not make up his mind concerning how to end the work. The final stanza of the poem appealed to Brahms' morose nature, but he hesitated to end the work in such a dark mood. After much thought (and some advice from conductor Hermann Levi) Brahms settled on a return of the orchestral prelude that began the work.

Schicksalslied is in three short movements. The first movement begins with an orchestra prelude and the chorus comes in with the first two stanzas of the poem in E-flat major. The second movement is in C minor and reflects the gloominess of the third stanza. The last movement is a repeat of the the orchestral prelude that opened the work, but Brahms transposed the key to C major and made changes in the instrumentation.

Schicksalslied (Song Of Destiny)

You walk above in the light
on holy ground, blessed genies!
Divine breezes
waft by you,
like the fingers of the player
on the holy strings.

Fateless, like sleeping infants,
breathe the heavenly beings.
With modest buds
ever protected,
their spirit will bloom forever,
and their blessed eyes
will see in silent,
perpetual clarity.

But we are given
no place to rest.
We vanish and fall,
suffering humans.
Blind from hour to hour,
thrown from tragedy to tragedy
like water thrown from cliff to cliff,
we disappear into the abyss.
More information HERE.


  1. A bit dreary for my tastes, but it could be the day! :)

    1. Bunkerville,
      Fits my mood. The past several days here haven't been easy. In fact, they've been sobering.

  2. This piece of quintessential Brahms is an exquisite evocation of empathy and gives access to the deepest wellsprings of compassion for the Human Condition.

    A revelation of understanding of what it means to be fully human, the work provides balm for the soul –– a reassuring sense that none of us is ever alone in our sorrow and perplexity –– that the presence of God speaking to us through Brahms –– and other great figures gifted with special insights –– is always there if we but listen, learn and accept the realities of existence, however painful, as wholly good in the long run.

    As it just so happens this exalted Song of Fate makes the perfect conclusion to what-for-me has been a week of extended mourning and sober contemplation.

    Thank you so much for providing this beautiful antidote to sorrow and the temptation to despair.

    This performance by the way is extraordinarily good. Is there any way we could find out the identity of the orchestra, chorus and conductor?

    1. FT
      The details you have requested are here:


    2. AHA! So it was performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus - Robert Shaw, conductor, eh?

      Why didn't you just say so? ;-)

      I had no idea Shaw that great. I was thinking it must have been Herbert Von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Mauriss Jansens, or possibly Gustavo Dudamel.

      Wonders will never cease.

    3. It takes too much time to type on this iPad keyboard. But when I'm using a computer, copying and pasting is easy.

  3. Great way to start a Sunday! Thank you!


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