The first summer issue, as mentioned in this post title, is lying down: in a tree's shadow, sitting on a deck chair having a mojito, falling asleep, loosely watching the sea or the clouds passing by. One of the great pleasures of holidays, to lounge around. The 19th century poets had tonnes of leisure time, so it won't be the first time we lounge around in Liederabend:
- Johannes Brahms gives in Feldeinsamkeit a contemplative, almost mystical view of this peaceful time. The narrator, in communion with nature, watches the clouds pass by. Romanticism in its purest form. We listened to Feldeinsamkeit performed by Christa Ludwig and Geoffrey Parsons.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams also wrote a great song on the same issue, Silent Noon, which talks about a moment of absolute happiness, experienced by two lovers lying together on the fresh grass. Our performers were Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake.
- The third song is Liebesbotschaft by Schumann; here the lover is alone and uses the passing clouds as messengers to carry his love words to his distant beloved. We listened to it sang by Gerald Finley also accompanied by Julius Drake.
L'herbe est molle au sommeil sous les frais peupliers,
Aux pentes des sources moussues,
Qui dans les prés en fleur germant par mille issues,
Se perdent sous les noirs halliers.
Repose, ô Phidylé! Midi sur les feuillages
Rayonne et t'invite au sommeil.
Par le trèfle et le thym, seules, en plein soleil,
Chantent les abeilles volages.
Un chaud parfum circule au détour des sentiers,
La rouge fleur des blés s'incline,
Et les oiseaux, rasant de l'aile la colline,
Cherchent l'ombre des églantiers.
Mais, quand l'Astre, incliné sur sa courbe éclatante,
Verra ses ardeurs s'apaiser,
Que ton plus beau sourire et ton meilleur baiser
Me récompensent de l'attente!
The grass is soft for slumber beneath the fresh poplars,
on the slopes by the mossy springs,
which, in the meadows flowering with a thousand plants,
lose themselves under dark thickets.
Rest, o Phidylé! the midday sun shines on the foliage
and invites you to sleep!
Among clover and thyme, alone, in full sunlight
hum the fickle honeybees.
A warm fragrance circulates about the turning paths,
the red cornflower tilts,
and the birds, skimming the hill with their wings,
search for shade among the wild roses.
But when the sun, turning in its resplendent orbit,
finds its heat abating,
let your loveliest smile and your most ardent kiss
recompense me for waiting!
(translated by Emile Ezust)