Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Anton Webern - Dormi Jesu - Five Canons on Latin Texts op 16 #2

Rachel Platt, soprano
Michael Harris, clarinet

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule.

Sleep, Jesus! Mother smiles
Who sees such sweet sleep,
Sleep, Jesus, sweet one!
If you won't sleep, Mother weeps,
While she spins, she prays a song,
Come, gentle sleep.

This is about the only specifically Christmas related song that Webern wrote.  While I was posting Messiaen's Twenty Meditations on the Baby Jesus I said that Webern was, as well a Catholic mystic. That is apparent in the texts he chose to set, vocal music accounting for a large part of his works. That's true of many of the most prominent composers in the 20th century, something that is less true of the 19th century.

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