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Unter dayne vayse shtern 02:13
 

Liner Notes

Unter dayne vayse shtern (1950) seems like a regression to an earlier manner of songwriting in Weiner’s oeuvre, but the harmonic maneuvers and elaborate piano writing suggest a continuing development of his style. This is a strongly tonal composition that proceeds in E minor for most of its duration, yet concludes in F minor without any sense of strain.


Editor's note by Neil W. Levin:

Avraham Sutskever is believed to have written this poem in the Vilna Ghetto, where it was originally set to a haunting melody by Abraham Brudno and sung there by Zlate Katcherginsky in a theatrical production of the play Di yogn in fas (The Hunt in the Barrel—a parody of Diogenes in a barrel). After the liquidation of the ghetto, Sutskever joined the partisan fighters and survived the Holocaust. Brudno was deported to a German concentration camp in Estonia, where he was murdered in 1943 or 1944. His version, however, is entirely unrelated to Weiner’s song.

By: Yehudi Wyner

 

Lyrics

Poet: Avraham Sutskever (b. 1913)

Under Your white stars
Stretch to me Your white hand.
My words are tears,
That want to rest in Your hand.

See, their spark dims
Through my penetrating cellar eyes.
And I don’t have a corner from which
To return them to You.

And yet I still want, dear God,
To confide in You all that I possess,
For in me rages a fire
And in the fire—my days.

But in cellars and in holes
The murderous quiet weeps.
I run higher, over rooftops
And I search: Where are You, where?

Something strange pursues me
Across stairs and yards with lament.
I hang—a ruptured string,
And I sing to You:

Under Your white stars
Stretch to me Your white hand.
My words are tears,
That want to rest in Your hand.

Poet: Avraham Sutskever (b. 1913)

unter dayne vayse shtern
shtrek tsu mir dayn vayse hant.
mayne verter zenen trern
viln ruen in dayn hant.

ze, es tunklt zeyer finkl
in mayn kelerdikn blik.
un ikh hob gornit keyn vinkl
zey tsu shenken dir tsurik.

un ikh vil dokh, got getrayer,
dir fartroyen mayn farmeg.
vayl es mont in mir a fayer
un in fayer—mayne teg.

nor in kelern un lekher
veynt di merderishe ru.
loyf ikh hekher, iber dekher
un ikh zukh: vu bistu, vu?

nemen yogn mikh meshune
trep un hoyfn mit gevoy.
heng ikh—a geplatste strune
un ikh zing tsu dir azoy:

unter dayne vayse shtern
shtrek tsu mir dayn vayse hant.
mayne verter zenen trern
viln ruen in dayn hant.


 

Credits

Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 02:13
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Ida Rae Cahana, Mezzo-soprano;  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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