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Karen’s Story: ‘Liebst du um Schönheit’ Saturday, 13 March 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has supported Carry a Poem 2010 by asking artists featured in February concerts to tell us about their favourite poems. These were published in 3,120 concert programmes during the month.

Mezzo soprano Karen Cargill

My favourite poem is Liebst du um Schönheit by Friedrich Rückert.

I carry this poem around in many forms, in my head, on my ipod and in my bag as it’s a poem that was set by Gustav Mahler as gift for his wife Alma, and is a lied that I sing a lot.

The text is incredibly beautiful, the way the German sounds and feels when it’s spoken, Rückert’s choice of images that are offered in place of a seeming insecurity in one’s self.

In today’s hectic, competitive and materialistic world, I think this poem has much resonance. Being in love, giving yourself completely to someone else, to me there is nothing more beautiful.

The last stanza is a sigh of relief and a heartbreak all in one go – “Love me ever, I will love you evermore”

Liebst du um Schönheit

Liebst du um Schönheit, o nicht mich liebe!

Liebst die Sonne, sie trägt ein goldnes Haar!

Liebst du um Jugend, o nicht mich liebe!

Liebe den Frühling, der jung ist jedes Jahr!

If you love for beauty, oh, do not love me!

Love the sun, she has golden hair!

If you love for youth, oh, do not love me!

Love the spring; it is young every year!

Liebst du um Schätze, o nicht mich liebe!

Liebe die Meerfrau, sie hat viel Perlen klar!

Liebst du um Liebe, o ja, mich liebe!

Liebe mich immer, dich lieb’ ich immerdar.

If you love for treasure, oh, do not love me!

Love the mermaid; she has many clear pearls!

If you love for love, oh yes, do love me!

Love me ever, I will love you evermore!

by Friedrich Rückert


1. Alan Robertson - Sunday, 18 April 2010

Was just playing Liebst du um Schonheit by Mahler and wanted to know what the words meant. Thanks for the translation. The words are as beautiful as the song. The only art I practice is 3D art so can’t really agree with the sentiment. With pictures the only beauty is what you see so I think I will stay superficial.

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