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Presentació de Jesús al Temple - Mestre de la Seu d'Urgell
 

My dearest, happy New Year filled with music!

To finish our Christmas season, I'm sharing a song by Peter Cornelius, a composer who wrote several song cycles with religious themes, usually with his own texts. Four years ago I talked about his Weihnachtslieder, op. 8, which includes a very well-known song, Die Könige. Today we're listening to the next song, Simeon, which tells the presentation of Jesus at the Temple; it was customary for the parents to take the children at the temple forty days after their birth and to offer for them a pair of turtle-doves. The Christian calendar celebrates that on the holiday of Candlemas, on February 2.

The presentation of Jesus at the Temple is thus described in the Gospel of Luke:

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said:

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."

Luke 2, 25-32.

Cornelius' poem faithfully follows the Gospel, except for a detail that I'm not sure if it's a poetic license or a mistake: it tells "nach acht Tagen", that is, "after eight days," not "after forty days". That way, the day of the presentation coincides with that of the circumcision (New Year's Day), which Luke mentions in the immediately preceding verse.

The presentation of Jesus at the Temple is a common subject in painting, but it would say it's not that usual in music, so I thought I would share this song with you; our performers are Angelika Kirchschlager and Helmut Deutsch.

Next week the Three Kings will be on their way back home and we will go back to normal, long posts.

 
Simeon
 

Das Knäblein nach acht Tagen
Ward gen Jerusalem
Zum Gotteshaus getragen
Vom Stall in Bethlehem.

Da kommt ein Greis geschritten,
Der fromme Simeon,
Er nimmt in Tempels Mitten
Vom Mutterarm den Sohn;

Vom Angesicht des Alten
Ein Strahl der Freude bricht,
Er preiset Gottes Walten
Weissagungsvoll und spricht:

"Nun lässest du in Frieden,
Herr, deinen Diener gehn,
Da du mir noch beschieden,
Den Heiland anzusehn,

Den du der Welt gesendet,
Daß er dem Heidentum
Des Lichtes Helle spendet
Zu deines Volkes Ruhm!"

Mit froh erstaunten Sinnen
Vernimmt's der Eltern Paar,
Dann tragen sie von hinnen
Das Knäblein wunderbar.

After eight days,the baby boy
was carried to Jerusalem,
to the house of God,
from the stall in Bethlehem.

There comes striding an old man,
the pious Simeon;
in the middle of the temple he takes
the son from his mother's arms.

From the face of the old man
beams bright joy;
he praises God's ways,
full of prophecy, and says:

"Now, permit your servant
to depart in peace, Lord,
for you have allowed
me to see the Saviour,

whom you sent into the world
to bestow upon the Gentiles
the brightness of your light,
to the glory of your people!"

With happily astonished minds,
the pair of parents listen,
then leave, carrying away
the wondrous infant boy.


(translation by Emily Ezust)

 
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