texts

Claude Debussy

Beau Soir

Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses,

Et qu’un tiède frisson court sur les champs de blé,

Un conseil d’être heureux semble sortir des choses

Et monter vers le cœur troublé;

Un conseil de goûter le charme d’être au monde

Cependant qu’on est jeune et que le soir est beau,

Car nous nous en allons, comme s’en va cette onde:

Elle à la mer—nous au tombeau!

 

BEAUTIFUL EVENING

When at sunset the rivers are pink

And a warm breeze ripples the fields of wheat,

All things seem to advise contentment -

And rise toward the troubled heart;

It advises us to savour the gift of life,

While we are young and the evening fair,

For our life slips by, as that river does:

It to the sea - we to the tomb

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Henri Duparc

Chanson triste

Dans ton cœur dort un clair de lune,

Un doux clair de lune d’été,

Et pour fuir la vie importune,

Je me noierai dans ta clarté.

J’oublierai les douleurs passées,

Mon amour, quand tu berceras

Mon triste cœur et mes pensées

Dans le calme aimant de tes bras.

Tu prendras ma tête malade,

Oh! quelquefois sur tes genoux,

Et lui diras une ballade

Qui semblera parler de nous;

Et dans tes yeux pleins de tristesses,

Dans tes yeux alors je boirai

Tant de baisers et de tendresses

Que peut-être je guérirai.

 

SONG OF SADNESS

Moonlight slumbers in your heart,

A gentle summer moonlight,

And to escape the cares of life

I shall drown myself in your light

I shall forget past sorrows,

My sweet, when you cradle

My sad heart and my thoughts

In the loving calm of your arms.

You will rest my poor head,

Ah! sometimes on your lap,

And recite to it a ballad

That will seem to speak of us;

And from your eyes full of sorrow,

From your eyes I shall then drink

So many kisses and so much love

That perhaps I shall be healed.

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Gabriel Fauré

Notre amour Op. 23 No. 2

Notre amour est chose légère

Comme les parfums que le vent

Prend aux cimes de la fougère

Pour qu'on les respire en rêvant.

Notre amour est chose légère.


Notre amour est chose charmante,

Comme les chansons du matin

Où nul regret ne se lamante,

Où vibre un espoire incertain.

Notre amour est chose charmante.


Notre amour est chose sacrée

Comme le mystère des bois

Où tressaille un âme ignorée,

Où les silences ont des voix.

Notre amour est chose sacrée.


Notre amour est chose infinie,

Comme les chemins des couchants

Où la mer, aux cieux réunie,

S'endort sous les soleils penchants.

Notre amour est chose infinie.


Notre amour est chose éternelle

Comme tout ce qu'un Dieu vainqueur

A touché du feu de son aile.

Comme tout ce qui vient du cœur.

Notre amour est chose éternelle

 

OUR LOVE

Our love is a light thing
Like the scents which the breeze
Gathers from the tips of the ferns
That we might breathe them when dreaming.
Our love is a light thing.

Our love is an enchanting thing,
Like the songs of the morning
In which no regret is lamented,
In which an uncertain hope vibrates.
Our love is an enchanting thing.

Our love is a sacred thing
Like the mystery of the woods
In which an unknown soul trembles,
In which silences have voices.
Our love is a sacred thing.

Our love is an infinite thing,
Like the paths of the sunsets
Where the sea, reunited with the heavens,
Falls asleep beneath the sinking suns.
Our love is an infinite thing.

Our love is an eternal thing
Like all that a victorious God
AHas touched with the flame of his wing.
Like all that comes from the heart.
Our love is an eternal thing.

 

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

 

Francesco Tosti

Pour un baiser!

Ô doux printemps d'autrefois, vertes saisons,

Vous avez fui pour toujours!

Je ne vois plus le ciel bleu;

Je n'entends plus les chants joyeux des oiseaux!

Enemportant mon bonheur,

Ô bien-amé, tu t'en es allé!

Et c'est en vain que revient le printemps!

Oui! Sans retour, avec toi, le gai soleil,

les jours riants sont partis!

Comme en mon coeur tout est sombre et glacé,

tout est flétri pour toujours!

 

Elegy

O sweet Spring of yesteryear, green seasons,

You have fled forever!

I no longer see the blue sky,

I no longer hear the joyous songs of the birds!

You have fled, my love,

And with you has fled my happiness!

And it is in vain that the spring returns!

For along with you, the cheerful sun,

The laughing days have gone!

As my heart is dark and frozen,

So all is withered for evermore!

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Francesco Tosti

Pour un baiser!

Pour un baiser sur ta peau parfumée,

Pour un baiser dans l'or de tes cheveux

Reçois mon âme toute, ô bien-aimée !

Tu comblerais l'infini de mes vœux...

Par un baiser !

 

Pour un baiser distillé dans tes lèvres,

Profond, tenace et lent comme un adieu,

Souffrir le mal d'amour, et de ses fièvres brûler,

Languir et mourir peu à peu...

Dans un baiser !

 

FOR A KISS

For a kiss on your perfumed skin,

For a kiss in your golden hair,

Receive all my soul, my beloved!

You will fulfill my infinite wishes

For a kiss!

For a kiss hidden in your lips,

Deep, stubborn and as slow as a farewell,

Suffering the pangs of love, and burning fevers

Languising and dying little by little….

In a kiss!

 

LA SERENATA

Vola, o serenata: La mia diletta è sola,

e, con la bella testa abbandonata,
posa tra le lenzuola:

O serenata, vola. O serenata, vola.

Splende pura la luna,

l'ale il silenzio stende,
e dietro I veni dell'alcova bruna

la lampada s’accende.

Pure la luna splende.
Vola, o serenata,
Ah! . Ah!

 

Vola, o serenata: La mia diletta è sola,

ma sorridendo ancor mezzo assonnata,

torna fra le lenzuola:

O serenata, vola. O serenata, vola.

L'onda sogna su 'l lido,
e 'l vento su la fronda;

e a' baci miei ricusa ancore un nido

la mia signora bionda.
Sogna su 'l lido l'onda.

Vola, o serenata,
Ah! Ah!

 

THE SERANADE

Fly, o serenade: My beloved is alone,
Her beautiful carefree head
 Lies between the sheets:
O serenade, fly. O serenade, fly.
The moon shines brightly,
Silence extends its wings,
And behind the shadows of the dark alcove
The lamp burns.
The moon shines brightly.
Fly, o serenade
Ah! Ah!

 

Fly, o serenade: My beloved is alone,
But, still smiling half asleep,
Returns between her sheets:
O serenade, fly. O serenade, fly.
The wave dreams on the shore,
And the wind on the branch;
And my blonde lady still denies
A place for my kisses
The wave dreams on the shore.
Fly, o serenade,
Ah! Ah!

 

TRISTEZZA

Guarda; lontan lontano muore ne l'onde il sol;

stormi d'uccelli a vol tornano al piano.

Una malinconia io sento in cuore e pur non so perchè;

guardandoti negli occhi, o bella mia,

muto mi stringo a te.

 

Copre l'ombrìa d'un manto le cose, il cielo, il mar;

io sento tremolar ne gli occhi il pianto.

Suona l'avemaria ed é sí triste e pur non so perchè:

devotamente preghi, o bella mia,

 io prego insieme con te.

 

Tenera ne la sera che s'empie di fulgor,

dai nostri amanti cuor va la preghiera.

E la malinconia mi fa pensare e pur non so perchè,

che un giorno, ahimè, dovrà la vita mia

perdere il sogno e te!

 

SADNESS

Look, far, far away the sun dies

flocks of birds in flight return to the plain

I feel a sadness in my heart and yet I don't know why

Looking into your eyes my beauty,

Silently I cling to you

 

The shadow of a cloak covers Nature, the sky, the sea,

I feel tears brimming in my eyes.

The Angelus bell rings it’s sad and yet I don't know why.

You pray devoutly, my beauty

I pray with you.

 

Tender in the evening Filled with a radiance

From our loving hearts goes the prayer.

And the sadness makes me think, yet I don't know why,

That one day, alas, my life

Will lose the dream and you!

 

Richard Strauss

Kling! Op. 48 No.3

 

Kling!

 

Meine Seele gibt reinen Ton.

Und ich wähnte die Arme

Won dem wütenden Harme

Wilder Zeiten zerrissen schon

 

Sing!

 

Meine Seele,den Beichtgesang

Wiedergewonnener Fülle!

Hebe vom Herzen die Hülle!

Heil dir, geläuterter Innenklang!

 

Kling!

 

Meine Seele, dein Leben,

Quellendes, frisches Gebild!

Bülhendes hat sich begeben

Auf dem verdorrten Gefild

 

RING!

 

Ring!

My soul gives forth a pure sound

And I imagined the poor thing

Already torn apart

By the furious outrages of frantic times

 

Sing!

My soul the confessional song

Of exuberance reclaimed

Lift the pall from your heart!

Hail to thee, chiming note within!

 

Ring!

Ring out your life

Fresh, upwelling image!

Blossoming has taken place

Upon the withered field

 

translation © Shawn Thuris

 

All mein Gedanken Op. 21 No. 1

All’ mein Gedanken, mein Herz und mein Sinn,

Da wo die Liebste ist, wandern sie hin.

Geh’n ihres Weges trotz Mauer und Tor,

Da hält kein Riegel, kein Graben nicht vor,

Gehn wie die Vögelein hoch durch die Luft,

Brauchen kein’Brücken über Wasser und Kluft,

Finden das Städtlein und finden das Haus,

Finden ihr Fenster aus allen heraus,

Und klopfen und rufen: „mach’ auf, laß uns ein,

Wir kommen vom Liebsten und grüßen Dich fein.“

 

ALL MY THOUGHTS

All my thoughts, my heart and my mind,

Wander to where my beloved is.

They go on their way despite wall and gate,

No bolt, no ditch can stop them,

Go high in the air like little birds,

Needing no bridge over water or chasm

They find the town and they find the house,

Find her window among all the others,

And knock and call: ‘Open up, let us in,

We come from your sweetheart who sends his love.’

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Die Nacht Op. 10 No. 3

Aus dem Walde tritt die Nacht,

Aus den Bäumen schleicht sie leise,

Schaut sich um in weitem Kreise,

 

Nun gib Acht!

 

Alle Lichter dieser Welt,

Alle Blumen, alle Farben

Löscht sie aus und stiehlt die Garben

Weg vom Feld.

Alles nimmt sie, was nur hold,

Nimmt das Silber weg des Stroms

Nimmt vom Kupferdach des Doms

Weg das Gold.

Ausgeplündert steht der Strauch:

Rücke näher, Seel’ an Seele,

O die Nacht, mir bangt, sie stehle

Dich mir auch.

 

NIGHT

Night steps from the woods,

Slips softly from the trees,

Gazes about her in a wide arc,

Now beware!

 

All the lights of this world,

All the flowers, all the colours

She extinguishes and steals the sheaves

From the field.

 

She takes all that is fair,

Takes the silver from the stream,

Takes from the cathedral’s copper roof

The gold.

 

The bush stands plundered

Draw closer, soul to soul,

Ah the night, I fear, will steal

You too from me.

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Allerseelen Op. 10 No. 8

Stell auf den Tisch die duftenden Reseden,

Die letzten roten Astern trag herbei,

Und laß uns wieder von der Liebe reden,

Wie einst im Mai.

 

Gib mir die Hand, daß ich sie heimlich drücke,

Und wenn man’s sieht, mir ist es einerlei,

Gib mir nur einen deiner süßen Blicke,

Wie einst im Mai.

 

Es blüht und duftet heut auf jedem Grabe,

Ein Tag im Jahr ist ja den Toten frei,

Komm am mein Herz, daß ich dich wieder habe,

Wie einst im Mai.

 

ALL SOUL’S DAY

Set on the table the fragrant mignonettes,

Bring in the last red asters,

And let us talk of love again

As once in May.

 

Give me your hand to press in secret,

And if people see, I do not care,

Give me but one of your sweet glances

As once in May.

 

Each grave today has flowers and is fragrant,

One day each year is devoted to the dead;

Come to my heart and so be mine again,

As once in May.

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Morgen! Op. 27 No. 4

Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen

Und auf dem Wege, den ich gehen werde,

Wird uns, die Glücklichen, sie wieder einen

Inmitten dieser sonnenatmenden Erde ...

Und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen,

Werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen,

Stumm werden wir uns in die Augen schauen,

Und auf uns sinkt des Glückes stummes Schweigen ...

 

TOMORROW

And tomorrow the sun will shine again

And on the path that I shall take,

It will unite us, happy ones, again,

Amid this same sun-breathing earth …

 

And to the shore, broad, blue-waved,

We shall quietly and slowly descend,

Speechless we shall gaze into each other’s eyes,

And the speechless silence of bliss shall fall on us .

 

English Translation © Richard Stokes

 

Alex Vella Gregory

Tluq

 

Vistu

Il-vistu ma jibdiex quddiem katavru;

bħad-dell tas-sħab li jiġma’ sa ma joħnoq

sirġet ix-xemx, jibda jurik minn kmieni.

Il-vistu dgħajjes mgħaġġla li jgħaddulek

minn taħt il-gallarija bla qatt jieqfu.

Telefonata ddoqq il-Ħadd flgħaxija,

għax dawru numru b’ieħor u ġiet għandek.

Il-vistu siġġu vojt mal-mejda, ikla

għal tnejn imsajra għalxejn, u l-inbid qares

li jimla r-ras minflok ma jnessi l-weġgħa.


Mourning

It’s not beside the corpse that mourning breaks.

Like cloud shadows that gather till they smother

the sunlight, you know with time to spare.

Mourning is a hasty parade of boats

that does not halt under your balcony.

A phone that rings on Sunday evening –

wrong number, but only just.

Mourning is an empty chair at the table, a meal

for two prepared in vain, sour wine

that fills the head and feeds the hurt.

 

Ma ħallejt xejn warajk

 

Ma ħallejt xejn warajk, biex mank niftakrek —

 

ħlief xagħrek skur li minnu, xħin għannaqtek,

slitt żewg linjiet li magħhom irbatt qalbi;

 

ħlief fwejħet ħwejġek, sħaba maġenb soddti,

u l-marki ta’ subgħajk fuq wiċċ l-għamara;

 

ħlief l-orkidea fuq is-soll tat-tieqa

tistenniek tħares lejha biex tinfetaħ;

 

ħlief xaqq ta’ dawl li ttawwal għal ftit ġewwa

sa ma għalaqtli l-bieb, u reġa’ dalam.

You left nothing behind

 

You left nothing behind to remind me of you —

but your dark tresses from which, while hugging,

I reaped two long hairs to tie my heart with;

but the scent of your clothes, a cloud by my bed,

and the trace of your fingers on the furniture;


but the orchid on the windowsill

awaiting your gaze so it can unfurl;

but a crack of light that peeked through the door

till you closed it behind you, and all went dark again.

 

Meta titgħallem titlaq

 

Meta titgħallem titlaq tkun wasalt.

 

Fil-gaġġa ta’ sidrek ma taqfilx iktar

il-gawwi li int u tipprova torqod

jibqa’ jokroblok taħt l-irdum ta’ soddtok.

 

F’moħħok ma tfaqqasx il-flieles imġewħa

jew tinseġ l-ideat li l-għajnejn ċassi

jitbeżżgħu minnhom f’nofs ta’ lejl dlam ċappa.

 

B’idejk ma tibnix dinjiet solitarji

u tordom f’qalbhom sigrieti ħa ssibhom

bħal ġawhar għal m’għonqok int u ġej lura.

 

Meta titgħallem titlaq tkun wasalt.

 

Once you learn to leave

 

Once you learn to leave, you’ll have arrived.

You’ll no longer shut the seagull

in the cage of your chest, wailing under

the cliff of your bed as you try to sleep.

 

You’ll no longer hatch famished chicks

in your mind, nor spin ideas for your eyes

to dodge in the midnight darkness.

 

Your hands will no longer build worlds

of loneliness, nor dig up secrets within them

to wear like pearls as you return.

 

Once you learn to leave, you’ll have arrived.

 

English Translation – Antoine Cassar

 

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Aria (Cantilena) from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

Tarde uma nuvem rósea lenta e transparente.

Sobre o espaço, sonhadora e bela!

Surge no infinito a lua docemente,

Enfeitando a tarde, qual meiga donzela

Que se apresta e a linda sonhadoramente,

Em anseios d'alma para ficar bela

Grita ao céu e a terra toda a Natureza!

 

Cala a passarada aos seus tristes queixumes

E reflete o mar toda a Sua riqueza

Suave a luz da lua desperta agora

A cruel saudade que ri e chora!

Tarde uma nuvem rósea lenta e transparente

Sobre o espaço, sonhadora e bela!

 

Aria (Cantilena) from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

Evening, a rosy cloud, slow and transparent

Over the spot, dreamlike and beautiful!

The moon gently appearing beyond the horizon,

Embellishing the eventide, like a sweet maid

Preparing herself till she's dreamily gorgeous,

With her soul avid to become beautiful

Yelling to heaven and earth, to all of Nature!

 

Silent are the birds to her sad laments

And reflected on the sea all of Her richness...

Soft the light of the moon awakes already

A fierce desire that laughs and cries.

Evening, a rosy cloud, slow and transparent

Over the spot, dreamlike and beautiful!

 

 

 

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