English Blog

Ludwig van Beethoven – Song Cycle “An die Fern Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved) , Op. 98 7/3/20

July 3, 2020

I have been practicing Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Op. 17. I have so many things I want to say about this great piece, and will write it in a separate blog. Schumann uses quote from Beethoven’s “To the Distant Beloved” song cycle in his Fantasy. The quote comes from the 6th song which is very touching and moving. Beethoven wrote his famous “Immortal Beloved Letter” in 1812, and this song cycle was written in 1816. His feelings continue from the letter to this song cycle. The letter is very beautiful, truthful, and so personal. But for this song cycle, Beethoven asked Alois Isidor Jeitteles, a doctor, to write a text. The text is beautifully written, as if Jeitteles knew the existence of “Immortal Beloved Letter”. Each song takes us to the scenes Beethoven was imagining in his head.

“An die Fern Geliebte” is known to be one of the first example of a song cycle. Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann followed Beethoven’s step to write their own. I listen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore.

“An die Fern Geliebte” text by Alois Isidor Jeitteles
1. On the hill sit I, peering
On the hill sit I, peering
Into the blue, hazy land,
Toward the far away pastures
Where I you, beloved, found.

Far am I, from you, parted,
Separating us are hill and valley
Between us and our peace,
Our happiness and our sorrow.

Ah! The look can you not see,
That to you so ardently rushes,
And the sighs, they blow away
In the space that separates us.

Will then nothing more be able to reach you,
Nothing be messenger of love?
I will sing, sing songs,
That to you speak of my pain!

For before the sound of love escapes
every space and every time,
And a loving heart reaches,
What a loving heart has consecrated!

2. Where the mountains so blue
Where the mountains so blue
Out of the foggy gray
Look down,
Where the sun dies,
Where the cloud encircles,
I wish I were there!

There is the restful valley
Stilled are suffering and sorrow
Where in the rock
Quietly the primrose meditates,
Blows so lightly the wind,
I wish I were there!

There to the thoughtful wood
The power of love pushes me,
Inward sorrow,
Ah! This moves me not from here,
Could I, dear, by you
Eternally be!

3. Light veils in the heights
Light veils in the heights,
And you, little brook, small and narrow,
Should my love spot you,
Greet her, from me, many thousand times.

See you, clouds, her go then,
Meditating in the quiet valley,
Let my image stand before her
In the airy heavenly hall.

If she near the bushes stands,
Now that autumn is faded and leafless,
Lament to her, what has happened to me,
Lament to her, little birds, my suffering!

Quiet west, bring in the wind
To my heart’s chosen one
My sighs, that pass
As the last ray of the sun.

Whisper to her of my love’s imploring,
Let her, little brook, small and narrow,
Truly, in your waves see
My tears without numbers!

4. These clouds in the heights
These clouds in the heights,
These birds gaily passing,
Will see you, my beloved.
Take me with you on your light flight!

These west winds will play
Joking with you about your cheek and breast,
In the silky curls will dig.
I share with you this pleasure!

There to you from this hill
Busily, the little brook hurries.
If your image is reflected in it,
Flow back without delay!

5. May returns, the meadow blooms
May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Chattering, the brooks now run.

The swallow, that returns to her hospitable roof,
She builds, so busily, her bridal chamber,
Love must dwell there.

She brings, so busily, from all directions,
Many soft pieces for the bridal bed,
Many warm pieces for the little ones.

Now live the couple together so faithfully,
What winter has separated is united by May,
What loves, that he knows how to unite.

May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Only I cannot go away from here.

When all that loves, the spring unites,
Only to our love no spring appears,
And tears are our only consolation.

6. Take, then, these songs
Take, then, these songs,
That I to you, beloved, sang,
Sing them again in the evenings
To the sweet sounds of the lute!

When the red twilight then moves
toward the calm, blue lake,
And the last ray dies
behind that hilltop;

And you sing, what I have sung,
What I, from my full heart,
Artlessly have sounded,
Only aware of its longings.

For before these songs yields,
What separates us so far,
And a loving heart reaches

For what a loving heart has consecrated.

Seneca Quotes セネカの格言 6/18/20

June 18, 2020


Other men’s sins are before our eyes, and our own are behind our backs.



Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening.




True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.








Aspects de Chopin Alfred Cortot 6/18/20

June 18, 2020

I read this book in Japanese before (Japanese title misses “aspects” and just “Chopin”), but English translation is much better. Somehow the Japanese translator tried so hard to make it really complicated and difficult to understand… I practiced Cortot’s “Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique” every day when I was young! He was one of the best Chopin interpreter. He was a teacher of Dinu Lipatti who is my personal hero! We can’t talk about pianism without Cortot. He formed a trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals.

This book contains full of his affection to Chopin. He follows Chopin’s compositions, personality, relationships and works. If you love Chopin’s music, you will enjoy reading this book!

A Movie “The Farewell” 6/12/20

June 12, 2020

I truly enjoyed watching this movie. It is truthful, yet funny. It is soulful, yet silly. It is very entertaining and soul searching. The movie follows a Chinese family’s journey to search Chinese belief (I share this belief as a Japanese too) and to help the family’s difficulty together.  It happened when they discovered that their beloved Grandmother has only a short life to live. So they set up the grandson’s wedding to have a reason to gather in China because all of families are scattered, living in Japan and USA. Billi (Awkwafina) has a difficulty to keep family’s secret in front of her beloved grandma because the family decided not to tell the truth to the grandma according to Chinese belief. Everyone has difficulty to keep their feeling uplifted in front of the grandma. The grandma is so happy to see everyone and so excited to have a big wedding. First of all, Awkwafina is an amazing actress. You forget this is a movie so she is acting. She is so natural. This movie was a big hit last year. If you have not seen it yet, it is truly recommended! It is actually a perfect movie during our pandemic.

Pentecost Poems May/2020

May 31, 2020

Today is Pentecost, the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. I think those are beautiful poems for Pentecost.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.

By Matthew Guite

A Movie “Back to Burgundy” May/2020

May 26, 2020

I love French wine countries. The location of this movie is picturesque Burgundy, and actually we can learn the process of wine making. 3 siblings reunite at their family vineyard when their father was terminally ill. The old brother escaped from their family business and 10 years later he came back to see their father passing. As we imagine (!), there will be a lot of conflict and misunderstanding between them. “Wine” keeps them together. It is in French with English subtitle. My hobby is to keep learning French in a very relaxed way (!). If I can catch words here and there I give myself a score!

A Movie “Roman Holiday” May/2020

May 26, 2020

It has been about 2 months since the lockdown. Rome seems so far away in theses days. I don’t know when I can visit Europe.. I thought about this movie! I have watched it before, of course. But I chose to watch it again. I needed something innocent and fun. Audrey Hepburn is just beautiful and cute. She is a legend. I had a great time watching it. I strongly recommend this movie, especially in the current difficult time.

A Movie “La Fée (The Fairy)” 5/11/20

May 11, 2020

I truly loved a movie “Lost in Paris” by Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel. “The Fairy” was produced by Fiona and Abel too. We need a good laugh under this circumstance. Somehow their wit and humor clicks into my laugh button, for example perfect amount of clumsiness and foolishness.  A hotel clerk (Abel) falls in love with a charming fairy (Gordon). It is not an usual romantic comedy. It is very clever and witty with hidden satire and advocacy. It is in French with English subtitle. Recommended from a Bottom of my Heart!

Frühlingstraum (Dream of Spring) from “Winterreise” Op. 89. 5/1/20

May 1, 2020

I have been practicing Franz Schubert: Sonata D 664, and started to hear this song whenever I play the last movement. They share the same feeling. The text is by Wilhelm Müller and it is very beautiful. Schubert is a word painter, and surely this song by itself shows his incredible talent. Of course, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore are my first choice to listen any German lieder. It is May 1st and you will be enjoying this poem (translated in English). We can dream even in the difficult time.

Dream of Spring

I dreamt of bright flowers
that blossom in May;
I dreamt of green meadows
and merry bird-calls.
And when the cocks crowed
my eyes awoke:
it was cold and dark,
ravens cawed from the roof.
But there, on the window panes,
who had painted the leaves?
Are you laughing at the dreamer
who saw flowers in winter?
I dreamt of mutual love,
of a lovely maiden,
of embracing and kissing,
of joy and rapture.
And when the cocks crowed
my heart awoke;
now I sit here alone
and reflect upon my dream.
I close my eyes again,
my heart still beats so warmly.
Leaves on my window, when will you turn green?
When shall I hold my love in my arms?

A Movie “Death in Venice” by Luchino Visconti/Thomas Mann 4/22/20

April 22, 2020

I saw this movie when I was young too. Based on a novel by Thomas Mann, this movie is often known as one of the best movies of Visconti. The story is not complicated. A terrified composer, Gustav Von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde), visits Venice to recover from his illness, both mentally and physically. He is lonely. He stays at a nice hotel near a beach, and one day he spotted a beautiful young Polish boy, Tadzio (Björn Andrésen). Tadzio was vacationing with his family. Aschenbach fell in love with Tadzio, and became obsessive. He follows him. He can’t stop thinking of him. Then, he looks at himself, and he can’t accept who he is.. One day he went a beauty parlor and got a make-up and hair dye. It is very sad how he looks.. The ending scene is unforgettable. The movie captures the beauty of Venice and the scenes of vacationers. It is a psychological movie and some scenes are very long without much motions. I may not rate this movie as Visconti’s best film, but the acting is excellent.