Monday, May 3, 2021
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert was a professor of philosophy at Leipzig University, who in 1757 published a set of poems called “Geistliche Oden und Lieder” (Sacred Odes and Songs). These were very popular and inspired C.P.E. Bach to set all 54 poems to music! Beethoven selected six of these songs and composed his own settings in what became the first “Liederkreis” (song cycle) – a new genre which Beethoven would revisit with “An die ferne Geliebte” and which was later developed richly by Schubert and Schumann.
“Die Liebe des Nächsten” (Love of your Neighbor) is the second of Beethoven’s “Six Songs by Gellert”.
So jemand spricht: Ich liebe Gott!
Und hasst doch seine Brüder,
Der treibt mit Gottes Wahrheit Spott
Und reisst sie ganz darnieder.
Gott ist die Lieb’, und will, dass ich
Den Nächsten liebe, gleich als mich.
If someone says, "I love God!"
And yet hates his brother,
He makes a mockery of God's truth,
And tramples it underfoot.
God is love, and wishes me
To love my neighbour as myself.