On Tuesday November 11th there ;s a special recital at the Auistrian Cultural Forum in London – Georg Trakl: Spiegelspiel, A dramatic song cycle by Austrian composer Louis Mander, who will be conducting an interesting piano quartet and three singers. The texts will be English, from a recent translation of Trakl's poems. Read more HERE.
Below, Trakl's poem Grodek The translation is a new one which I worked out spontaneously last night. A good exercise. Trakl's poetry is idiosyncratic. Seemingly simple images convey opaque meaning. His cadences break off rather like the cadences in some esoteric music, heard from afar. Grammar Nazis will not get this guy. He's best read in German because the sounds of the words make a difference. Like Hölderlin, it feels like Trakl is transcribing "music from another planet".
"In the evening, through autumnal woodlands, come the sounds of death-bringing gunfire, resonating over golden fields and blue lakes, above which the sun sheds a gloomy glow. Night falls around dying soldiers, whose wild screams break forth from shattered mouths. Quietly over the reed beds, blood-red clouds where a Savage God lives, spilled blood flows in the moonlit coldness."
"All roads end in black decay. Under the golden canopy of stars and branches, shadow sisters (valkyrie) stumble through silent groves to greet the ghosts of heroes with bloodied heads, with the soft tones of reed-pipes and the dark flutes .of autumn. O proud suffering! The searing flames of the spirits today will feed a conflagration to curse generations as yet unborn"