One of my mp3 file folders is labelled “Requiem for a Drama Queen (me)”. In it are no less than 23 pieces of music, orchestral and vocal, I would like playing in the background at whatever reception may follow my memorial service, the date of which of course has not been determined. I will not list the 23 here but two of them I heard Thursday.
Québec contralto extraordinaire Marie-Nicole Lemieux appeared last evening with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on the second night of its season-launching Beethoven and Mahler festival. Ms. Lemieux warmly interpreted Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder – five poems of German author Friedrich Rückert set to Mahler’s music.
Two of the five songs were particularly meaningful to me – Um Mitternacht (At midnight) and Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I have lost touch with the world). The sentiments I have shared at times, like Mahler and/or Rückert, either in the midst of depression or illness or both.
Here are the translations. (Ms. Lemieux sang in the original German):
and looked up at the sky.
Not a star in the galaxy
Smiled at me
My thought went out
To the limits of darkness.
There was no thought of light
To bring me comfort
I paid heed
to the beating of my heart.
One single pulse of pain
I fought the fight,
Oh humanity, of your sorrows.
I could not decide it
For all my power
I gave my power
Into Your hands.
Lord! Over life and death
You keep guard
I have lost touch with the world,
with which I used to waste much time;
it has heard nothing of me for so long,
it may well think I am dead!
And for me it is of no concern at all
if it treats me as dead.
Nor can I say anything at all against it,
for in truth I am dead to the world.
I am dead to the hurly-burly of the world,
and repose in a place of quietness!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my loving, in my song!
Ms. Lemieux sang from her heart and, as the music mixed with her voice (particularly in the latter song), I could not deny myself a teary eye. That’s what live music is meant to do! Thank you Marie-Nicole Lemieux and the Toronto Symphony!