Thursday, 16 May 2013

'Lysets Engel gaar med Glans' - one of Ingemann's famous 'Morgensange'

B.S. Ingemann's 'Morgensange for Børn' ( 1837) and 'Syv Aftensange' (1838) are among the most well-known poems in the Danish language, due in part to Weyse's fine musical arrangements of them. These morning and evening songs have a distinctly Romantic view of childhood and an idyllic atmosphere. Their language is on the whole simple, with the occasional archaic throwback to a 'kings and castles' mode. Aksel Schiøtz has recorded many of the songs, but, as so often happens with Weyse's 6/8 and 2/4 melodies, they are turned into plodding 4/4 and thereby lose a lot of their lightness and momentum. There is an interesting arrangement for soprano and contralto duet + piano of these songs by V.E. Bielefeldt - highly usable for church concerts I have discovered. Audiences gasp at the tempo, but the songs come to life.

Gleaming bright, light’s angel see

Gleaming bright, light’s angel see
pass through heaven’s portal.
All of night’s black shadows flee
at God’s angel’s radiance immortal.

God’s light in his eye, the sun
o’er the world is gliding:
see! God’s envoy has begun,
high above on golden clouds he’s riding.

O’er the earth the angel spreads
God’s skies in their gleaming,
in his cloak of gauze-like threads
he enfolds the world so gaily teeming.

Rich man, poor man, great and small,
on them both sun’s peeping,
from above he sees them all,
kisses infants in their cradles sleeping.

Us the angel from on high
too would be embracing;
us he smiles at from the sky,
as God’s heav’nly gleam he’s tracing.

Us too does our Lord hold dear:
on each soul he gazes;
in each sunbeam God is near
and he hears our joyous morning praises.

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