Kennst Du das Land

🎼🎶 Monday, April 5, 2021
“Mignon” is the name of a fictional character in Goethe’s novel, “Wilhelm Meisters Lehrerjahre” (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship). She is a waif who is traveling with a troupe of circus performers until she is rescued by the title character. An enigmatic figure who sings of unbearable loneliness and longing, her songs were set to music by many composers, including Beethoven.
Here we compare two settings: the first by Reichardt (which Goethe preferred since it added little to the poem), and then by Beethoven, who gives the poem depth and majesty (which Goethe thought was inappropriate to the subject).
Translation: 
Do you know the land where the lemons blossom,
Where oranges grow golden among dark leaves,
A gentle wind drifts from the blue sky,
The myrtle stands silent, the laurel tall,
Do you know it?
It is there, it is there
I long to go with you, my love.
Do you know the house? Columns support its roof,
Its great hall gleams, its apartments shimmer,
And marble statues stand and stare at me:
What have they done to you, poor child?
Do you know it?
It is there, it is there
I long to go with you, my protector.
Do you know the mountain and its cloudy path?
The mule seeks its way through the mist,
Caverns house the dragons’ ancient brood;
The rock falls sheer, the torrent over it,
Do you know it?
It is there, it is there
Our pathway lies! O father, let us go!
Translation by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)
J. F. Reichardt - Kennst du das land?
J. F. Reichardt - Kennst du das land?
Beethoven: 6 Songs, Op. 75 (with Score)
Beethoven: 6 Songs, Op. 75 (with Score)


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • John Scialdone
    published this page in Daily Beethoven 2021-04-05 10:01:31 -0400

DONATE Join the Chorus! Contact

get updates