Saturday, 19 July 2008

Funeral Songs

A morbid discussion arose on one of the email lists I am subscribed to concerning suitable songs one would choose to have played at one's funeral.

My choice would be Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, from Mahler's Rückert-Lieder.

The final verse seems to point to a transcendence of the world that is entirely an appropriate way to say goodbye to it.

For me, this is simply one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen

(I have lost touch with the world)

Words by Friedrich Rückert
Music by Gustav Mahler,
Sung by Kathleen Ferrier

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh' in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!
________________________________________ ___

I am lost to the world
with which I used to waste so much time,
It has heard nothing from me for so long
that it may very well believe that I am dead!

It is of no consequence to me
Whether it thinks me dead;
I cannot deny it,
for I really am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world's tumult,
And I rest in a quiet realm!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love and in my song!

.. and now for a complete contrast, though no less affecting, is the song my daughter Jess would choose for her funeral


Curlz said...

Wow - this post is interesting on several fronts. Indeed, contrast is THE word with regard to your song and your daughters. Then there is the interesting choice of this rapper to use a song from the 80's in such a unique way. AND, why are you and your daughter thinking on death preparations? Personally, my chosen funeral song: Be Thou My Vision.

May both of your lives be healthy and fulfilling! :)

Iain said...

Hi, Curlz,

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Rest assured, neither my daughter and I are preparing for death! The topic came up randomly on an email list & I showed the post to my daughter and she told me what was her chosen song.

Arguably the Mahler song isn't really about death, but about being so in love that you have transcended the world.

There's a generation gap that explains the contrast in styles - though I do try to listen to the music my kids listen to as well.

Yes, and there will be Christian hymns as well at my funeral! Like your choice. Perhaps I would choose "Come down O love Divine", which we had at our wedding as well. Wonderful tune by Vaughan-Williams.

twat said...

Your comment on the Mahler song "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen": "For me, this is simply one of the most beautiful songs ever written" echoes perfectly a comment I heard years ago on National Public Radio. The station had just played this song, and after a significant pause, the announcer asked "Is there ANYTHING more beautiful?"