Gramen geshribn in zamd 01:28

Liner Notes

Gramen geshribm in zamd (1965), with its expressive, flowing piano part and its hesitant, fragmented modal line, follows an A-B-A formal structural scheme. The B section is a dramatically contrasting recitative-arioso that cries out the basic argument of the poem. Like Fun vayte teg, Gramen geshribm in zamd is also about man’s relationship with God in terms of man’s dual capacity for good and evil, for kindness and brutality, and how this duality can exist in the presence of a beneficent deity.

By: Yehudi Wyner



Poet: Melech Ravitch (Zekharye Khone Bergner) (1893–1976)

In the garden. Late summer. Dusk. On a bench.
A last towering spire flames in the west.
The evening wind is gaining strength. And I write a poem
With a dry twig in the garden sand.

“Evil art thou, man, and your friend’s warm blood
You regard as cheaply as free-flowing water!
My God, my man, tell me—why?
It is so easy to be good!

“Evil art thou, man. Your cry is like a butcher’s knife:
That you are always right and correct!
My God, my man, tell me—why?
It is so hard to be bad!

“Evil art thou, man, and still you sing to God
About turning the other cheek to the one who strikes—
While under your coat, scarcely concealed,
You hold a freshly sharpened ax.”

In the garden. Late summer. Dusk. I arise from the bench.
The last towering spire—has flamed out.
I just say into the hollowness: good night!
And in the darkness I tread on my poem in the sand.

Poet: Melech Ravitch (Zekharye Khone Bergner) (1893–1976)

in gortn. sof zumer. far nakht. af a bank.
a letst-hekhster turem in mayrevtsayt flamt.
es shtarkt zikh der nakhtvint. un ikh shrayb a lid
mit a ritl, a trukns in gortnzamd.

“shlekht bistu mentsh un hefker vi vaser
iz dayn khavers varem blut.
got mayner, mentsh mayner, zog mir—farvos?
es iz dokh azoy gring tsu zayn gut!

shlekht bistu, mentsh, vi a khalef dayn geshrey,
az du bist eybik gerekht un gerekht!
got mayner, mentsh mayner, zog mir—farvos?
es iz dokh azoy shver tsu zayn shlekht!

shlekht bistu mentsh, un dokh zingstu tsu got,
fun derlangen dem shleger di andere bak—
ober unter der pole, gants veynik farborgn,
halstu a nor-vos gesharfte hak.”

in gortn. sof zumer. far nakht. fun der bank shtey ikh uf.
der letst-hekhster turem—shoyn opgeflamt.
zog ikh stam in der pustkayt arayn: gute nakht!
un tsetret in der finster mayn lid inem zamd.



Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 01:28
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Raphael Frieder, Baritone;  Yehudi Wyner, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/2001
Venue: Lefrak Concert Hall/Colden Center for the Arts (E), Flushing, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Martyn, Tim

Additional Credits:

Translations and Transliterations: Eliyahu Mishulovin
Preliminary preparations by Adam J. Levitin


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