Song of the Earth


Part 1 of "The Farewell" of Kenneth Macmillan's "Song of the Earth" taken from Darcey Bussell's farewell performance at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden on 8 June 2007.

Music by Gustav Mahler: Die Abscheid, from 1908.



The sun sinks beyond the hills, evening descends into the valleys with its cooling shade. See, like a silver boat the moon sails up into the lake of the sky. I sense a soft wind blowing beyond the dark fir-trees. The brook sings melodiously through the dark. The flowers grow pale in the twilight. The earth breathes a deep draught of rest and sleep. All longing now will dream: tired people go homewards, so that they can learn forgotten joy and youth again in sleep! Birds sit motionless on their branches. The world is slumbering! It grows cool in the shade of my fir-trees. I stand and await my friend, I wait for him for our last farewell. O friend, I long to share the beauty of this evening at your side. Where do you linger? Long you leave me alone! I wander here and there with my lyre on soft grassy paths. O Beauty! O endless love-life-drunken world!

Based on a Chinese poem by Li Tai-Po, a famous Tang dynasty wandering poet; the German text used by Mahler was derived from Hans Bethge's translations in the book Die chinesische Flöte (1907), and poems by Mong Kao-Yen and Wang Wei, plus additional lines by Mahler himself.


"A celebration of Earth's renewal of itself"

Song of the Earth - Intro & rehearsals

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