- Written by Sílvia
In 1909, the Swedish translation of Twelfth Night, Trettondagsafton (by Carl Harberger) was played. Sibelius wrote incidental music for the play; according to the Sibelius Edition published by BIS, there were only two pieces, two songs that a baritone performed on stage with guitar accompaniment. I don't know if any other composer wrote more incidental music for that play, it's unusual that it was so short. Anyway, the point is that those two songs were published by Sibelius in a transcription for voice and piano as opus 60; they were Kom nu hit, Död (Come away, death), the second song of Clown, and Hållilå, uti storm ach i reign (For the rain, it raineth every day), the last one, that ends the play. Many years later, in 1957, the composer made an arrangement for voice, harp and strings; it was his last work, premiered on 14th June, three months before his death, on September 20th.
As I said when I talked about Korngold's song, the verses are misleading if we take them out of context. The clown sings the song at Orsino’s request, Duke of Illyria, who suffers lovesickness. The clown, as it usually happens in plays, is intelligent enough to realize that the situation is not that bad. When the Duke asks him to go because he wants be left alone with his sorrows, the clown says ironically "Now, the melancholy God protect thee; and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal." That's to say, no matter how sad the song is, you shouldn't be because they aren't. We're listening to Kom nu hit, död performed by Jorma Hynninen and Ralf Gothóni.
Twelfth Night begins with these verses:
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again!
Kom nu hit, kom nu hit, död!
I krusflor förvara mig väl;
Hasta bort, hasta bort, nöd!
Skön jungfrun har tagit min själ.
Med svepning och buxbom på kistans lock
Håll dig färdig;
Mång trogen har dött, men ingen dock
Ingen ros, ingen ros, då
Månde strös på mitt svarta hus;
Ingen vän, ingen vän, må
Störa hvilan i jordens grus.
Mig lägg, för tusen suckars skull,
Åt en sida,
Der ej älskande se min mull
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid.
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown.
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!