The Music

Texts and Translations from “Transcendent”

Posted by SoundBox

February 19, 2016

VELJO TORMIS  “Raua needmine
MONTEVERDI  “Ardo, avvampo, mi struggo
MAHLER, ARR. GOTTWALD  “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz"
MAHLER, ARR. GOTTWALD  "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen"



VELJO TORMIS Raua needmine (Curse upon iron) 1972  |  11 mins

Ohoy, villain! Wretched iron!
Wretched iron! Cursed bog ore!
You flesh-eater, gnawer of bones,
You spiller of innocent blood!
Scoundrel, how did you get power?
Tell how you became so haughty!
Damn you, bastard! Wretched iron!
I know your birth, you purblind fool,
I know well your source, you villain!

Once there walked three nature spirits,
three fiery daughters of the sky.
They milked their swelling breasts to earth,
they squeezed their milk onto the fens.
From the first maid spurted black iron,
this turned into soft wrought iron.
White milk squirted the second maid,
this was the source of tempered steel.
The third maid spouted blood-red milk,
this gave birth to bog iron ore.

Ohoy, villain! Wretched iron!
Wretched iron! Cursed bog ore!
Then you were not high and mighty,
not yet mighty, not yet haughty,
when you sloshed in swamps and marshes,
when in bogholes you were trampled.
Damn you, bastard! Wretched iron!
I know your birth, you purblind fool!
I know well your source, you villain!

A wolf then ran across the fen,
a shambling bear walked in the moor.
And the swamp stirred in the wolf tracks,
under the bear's paws moved the moor.
And there sprouted iron seedlings
in the traces of the wolf’s claws,
in the hollows of the bear tracks.
Ohoy, iron! Child of boghole!
Swamp's red rust and gentle smooth milk!
Tell me, who made you so baleful!
Who decreed your works of evil?

Death was riding through the marshes,
plague was on a winter journey.
Seedling steel it found in swampland,
rusty iron in a boghole.

The great death then began to talk,
the killer plague then spoke and said:
In a pine grove on a hillside,
in a field behind the village,
far beyond the farmers' granges,
right here will be the forge of death.
Here I'll build the forge's furnace,
here I'll place the widest bellows,
here I'll start to boil the iron,
fan and blast the rust-red bog ore,
hammer anger into iron.

Iron, poor man, shivered, trembled,
shivered, trembled, shuddered, quavered,
when he heard the call for fire,
heard the plea for flaming anger.

Ohoy, villain! Wretched iron!
Then you were not high and mighty,
not yet mighty, not yet haughty,
moaning in the white-hot furnace,
whining under beating hammers.

Droned the old man on the oven,
groaned the greybeard from the furnace:
Iron stretches, spreads like blubber,
Trickles, flows like dripping spittle,
oozing from the blazing furnace,
flowing from the scorching fire.

Iron, you're still soft and gentle.
How have you yet to be tempered
to make steel from harmless iron?
Get the spittle from an adder!
Bring the venom from a viper!
For iron wouldn't harbor evil
without spittle from a serpent,
without venom from a black snake.

Droned the old man on the oven,
groaned the greybeard from the furnace:
Shelter us, supreme Creator!
Keep us safe now, God Almighty!
So that mankind would not perish,
mother's child vanish without trace
from the face of the earth, from life,
from existence, God's creation.

New eras. New gods and heroes.
And cannons and airplanes
and tanks, and guns.
New steel and iron.
Brand-new, intelligent,
precise, powerful killers,
equipped with automated guiding devices,
armed with nuclear warheads.
Missiles invulnerable to defensive rocketry.

Knives and spears,
axes, halberds, sabers,
and slings and tomahawks and boomerangs,
bows and arrows, rocks and warclubs,
and claws and teeth, sand and salt,
dust and tar, napalm and coal.

Brand-new and up-to-date technology,
the ultimate word in electronics,
ready to fly in any direction,
stay undeflected on its course, hit the target,
paralyze, and knock out of action, obliterate,
render helpless and defenseless,
harm and hurt, cause unknowable loss,
and kill, kill with iron and with steel,
with chromium, titanium, uranium, plutonium,
and with a multitude of other elements.

Ohoy, villain! Evil iron!
Blade of the sword, mother of war!
Boghole ore's the golden guardian,
but you, steel, are kin to evil!
Damn you, bastard! Wretched iron!
We are kinsmen, of the same breed,
of the same seed we have sprouted.

You are earth-born, I am earth-born,
in the black soil we are brethren.
For we both live on the same earth
and in that earth we two will merge.
There will be land enough for both.

Translation: Eero Vihman


HILDEGARD VON BINGEN  Columba aspexit (The Dove Peered In)  1175  |  3 mins

The dove peered in through the latticed window, where before her face a balm emanated from the brightness of Maximinus.

The sun’s heat shone into the darkness; a gem sprang forth in the building of the pure and generous heart’s temple.

He is the highest tower, made of the tree of Lebanon, and cypress, and adorned with jacinth and sardonyx, a city unmatched by any builder.

He is the swift hart that sped to the fountain of pristine water bubbling from the mightiest stone, flowing with sweet perfume.

You perfumers who live in the sweetest greenness of the king’s gardens, you who ascend into the heights when you have consummated the holy sacrifice among the rams.

This builder shines among you, the wall of the temple, who longed for an eagle’s wings as he kissed his nurse, Wisdom, in the Church’s glorious fecundity!

Maximinus, you are mountain and valley, and in both you appear, a high building, where the goat and elephant walked, and Wisdom reveled in rapture.

You are both strong and sweet in the rites and in the coruscating of the altar, wafting like fragrant incense to the column of praise.

There you intercede for your people, who stretch to the mirror of light, for which there is praise on high.


ARVO PÄRT  Te Deum (1985/1992) |  25 mins

We praise you, O God, We acknowledge you as Lord.
The earth worships you, father everlasting.
All angels cry out to you, the heavens and all the heavenly powers;
Cherubim and Seraphim cry out to you.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory’s majesty.
The apostles in their glorious company praise you.
The prophets in their fellowship praise you.
The martyrs, that great army, praise you.
The holy Church around the world acknowledges you,
Father of infinite majesty;
your honorable, true, and only son,
and the Holy Ghost, the comforter.
You are the king of glory, O Christ,
you are the eternal son of the father.
When you took it on yourself to deliver humanity,
you did not abhor the virgin's womb.
When you triumphed over death,
you opened heaven’s kingdom.
You sit at the right hand of God,
in the father’s glory.
We believe that you will come to judge us.
And so we pray to you, help your servants,
whom your precious blood has redeemed.
Count us among your saints in eternal glory.
O Lord, save your people, bless your heritage.
Govern them, and lift them up forever.
O Lord, let your mercy shine upon us,
Day by day we magnify you,
and we worship your name, forever and ever.
O Lord, keep us sinless this day.
Have mercy upon us! Have mercy upon us.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
as we have trusted in you.
O Lord, I have trusted you;
let me never be confounded.
Holy, holy, holy.


MONTEVERDI  “Ardo, avvampo, mi struggo” (I burn, I blaze, I am consumed) 1638 | 3 mins

I burn, I blaze, I am consumed, I burn: come running,
Neighbors and friends, to the site of the blaze—
Theft, theft, treachery, Fire!
Take ladders, axes, hammers, water;
And you steeples, you are silent?
Come, bells, come, for I am hoarse with shouting,
Tell others of this peril, not slight or small,
And plea for pity for my fires.
Two beautiful eyes are the thief and, with them, Love
Is the arsonist who flung the evil torches
Into my heart’s fortress.
By now all remedies are a vain fallacy.
Everyone tells me, that such burning is so blissful:
Allow your heart to become ashes, and be silent.


MAHLER, ARR. GOTTWALD  “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz" (The Two Blue Eyes of My Beloved) from Songs of a Wayfarer  1883  |  5 mins

My love’s blue eyes
sent me wandering in the wide world.
I had to take leave of
the place I loved most.
Oh, blue eyes, why did you look at me?
Now I’m left with endless sorrow!

I went out into the quiet night,
into the quiet night, over the dark meadow.
No one bade me farewell.
My companions were love and sorrow!

On the road stands a linden tree.
There I slept peacefully for the first time,
under the linden tree,
which dropped its blossoms over me like snow.
And I didn’t know what life was doing.
Everything, everything was good again.
Everything, everything. Love and sorrow
and world and dream. 

—Translation: Larry Rothe


MAHLER, ARR. GOTTWALD  "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" (I Am Lost to the World) from Rückert Songs  1901  |  8 mins

I am lost to the world
where I once wasted so much time.
It has been so long since the world has heard from me,
it may seem as though I’ve died!

And it makes no difference to me
if the world thinks I have died,
nor can I dispute that claim,
since I really am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world’s tumult
and I rest in a quiet place!
I live alone in my heaven,
in my love, in my song.

—Translation: Larry Rothe