Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17

Du Ring an Meinem Finger
from Frauenliebe und Leben Liederkreis op. 30
music by Robert Schumann
and performed by Dame Janet Baker

Thou ring on my finger,
my little golden ring,
I press thee piously upon my lips
piously upon my heart.

I had dreamt it,
the tranquil, lovely dream of childhood,
I found myself alone and lost
in barren, infinite space.

Thou ring on my finger,
thou hast taught me for the first time,
hast opened my gaze unto
the endless, deep value of life.

I want to serve him, live for him,
belong to him entire,
Give myself and find myself
transfigured in his radiance.

Thou ring on my finger,
my little golden ring,
I press thee piously upon lips,
piously upon my heart.

46 years is a long time.

But time passes in the blink of an eye, when you work as hard, and fit as much into an average day as my mum and dad always have.

It's their wedding anniversary today, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to offer them this music, which Robert Schumann composed for his bride, Clara Wieck, in 1840.

It's also the music that my dad played for me, almost exactly 20 years ago, the night before I was married.  We'd finished the wedding rehearsal, the guests had all gone home, and the rest of the family had retired to bed.  He ushered me into the little "music room", selected the cd, and said somewhat apologetically:

"Unfortunately, the words are a bit sexist..."

Well, yes, I guess they are.  They WERE written by a man, after all-- Adelbert von Chamisso, who lived from 1731-1838, so perhaps a bit of slack should be cut there.

But, the melody is exquisite.  And, if you are mature enough to look a little further than the absurdity of a man having the chutzpah to write about "A Woman's Love and Life"...  There's an awful lot more to admire, here.  The sentiments are genuine, and are undoubtedly an optimistic reflection of how we should ALL feel-- both men and women-- when we're just about to set off into the most important relationship of our lives.

It may not always have felt like this to my mum and dad, during all these 46 years... not by a long shot.

But the strength of their partnership is something I'll always admire, depend upon, and be incredibly grateful for.

Cheers, you two.

Sybil Fawlty: You seem very jolly, Basil.

Basil Fawlty: Hm?

Sybil Fawlty: You seem very jolly.

Basil Fawlty: Jolly?

Sybil Fawlty: Yes, jolly. Sort of happy.

Basil Fawlty: (with feigned reminiscence) Oh, happy. Yes, I remember that. 
No, not that I noticed, dear. Well, I'll report it if it happens, though.

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