Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras

 

 

 

 

Posted here (above) is what seems to me to be one of the best renditions of “Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras” (For all flesh, it is as grass), the second movement of Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), performed by the Berlin Philharmonic.

 

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As I noted in a previous post of mine:

“on hearing Brahms’s Requiem; views on death”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2017/11/09/on-hearing-brahmss-requiem-views-on-death/

This extraordinarily powerful, lyrical movement never fails to move me. I had long thought that the lyrics must mean something like: Let’s face it, everyone is going to die; death and decay are inevitable. But the words from scripture are actually consoling.

“From the beginning Brahms had intended the work to be more of a consolation for the living than a memorial for the dead. …” — Program Notes, 1998 Summer Concert of the San Francisco Lyric Chorus

 

 

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Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen.
So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder,
bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn.
Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet
auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde
und ist geduldig darüber,
bis er empfahe den Morgenregen und Abendregen. So seid geduldig.
Aber des Herrn Wort bleibet in Ewigkeit.
Die Erlöseten des Herrn werden wieder kommen und gen Zion kommen mit Jauchzen;
Freude, ewige Freude,
wird über ihrem Haupte sein;
Freude und Wonne werden sie ergreifen,
und Schmerz und Seufzen wird weg müssen.

 

 

Behold, all flesh is as the grass,
and all the goodliness of man
is as the flower of grass.
For lo, the Grass with’reth,
and the flower thereof decayeth.
Now, therefore, be patient, O my brethren, unto the coming of Christ.
See how the husbandman waiteth
for the precious fruit of the earth,
and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain.
So be ye patient.
Albeit the Lord’s word endureth for evermore. The redeemed of the Lord shall return again and come rejoicing unto Zion;
gladness, joy everlasting,
joy upon their heads shall be;
joy and gladness, these shall be their portion, and sighing shall flee from them.

 

— Roger W. Smith

    July 2018

 

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Addendum:

 

I had a girlfriend in college who disliked Brahms. I had no idea why. She used to say to me — emphatically, repeatedly — “I hate Brahms!”

I like him, I thought.

Perhaps she hated Brahms because he was German and she was Jewish.

My love and admiration for Brahms have grown deeper and deeper over the years. His music thoroughly engages me emotionally AND intellectually.

I have posted here three more Brahms tracks:

 

 

The first movement (Allegro non troppo) from the Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

 

 

 

The first and fourth movements (both marked Allegro) from the String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51.

 

 

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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