An die Nachtigall


An die Nachtigall - (2013)    

Matthias Claudius

for medium voice and piano


Er liegt und schläft an meinem Herzen,
Mein guter Schutzgeist sang ihn ein;
Und ich kann fröhlich sein und scherzen,
Kann jeder Blum' und jedes Blatts mich freun.
Nachtigall, ach! Nachtigall, ach!
Sing mir den Amor nicht wach!

2 pages, circa 1' 45"


Matthias Claudius


One familiar with Schubert's setting of this text will find my references to that setting easily, in word rhythms and even reference to the time signature. As with some of my organ works based on themes of Purcell, Webern and Stravinsky, or my "essays" on Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge, this song evidences some continual study of our masters and their work. In my time as working singer, I have sung many of Schubert's songs, and it is obvious that this master of song writing among many otehrs has affected me greatly. For other settings of Claudius' texts, click here.


He lies sleeping by my heart:
My good protective spirit sang to him;
And I can be joyous and jocular,
I can delight in every flower and leaf.
Nightingale, oh! Nightingale, oh!
Do not sing my love awake!

Translation from German to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive


The first musical gesture references Schubert's opening gesture, while the general harmonic scheme of this setting moves through whole tone harmonies to underpin a vocal line which comes to be solidly rooted on E. There are lengthier episodes than in Schubert's sweet setting, and yet the rhythms of the vocal line as set by Schubert are mostly adhered to for this study.



The score for An die Nachtigall is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


An die Nachtigall