Easter Walk Postscript: Gretchen’s Song

gretchen_doku

16th of April found Faust’s poor Gretchen singing in the garden of the Willemer Häuschen in Frankfurt/Main: On occasion of Easter and Goethe’s famous “Easter Walk” poem, the curators Annette Gloser and Robert Bock invited 11 artists to create art works along a historical parcours passing by Frankfurt’s Goethian landmarks. In an adaption of an old German “kitchen song” the voices of Shanti Suki Osman and Ulrike Stoehring rang out from two birdboxes, each housing a different mono track for stereo listening.

Retrospective press review here.
Thanks to Kirstin von der Heydt for documenting the work (right pic)!

And of course: those famous lines by J.W.G. in a 1836 translation by Edgar Alfred Bowring:

From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,
By the Spring’s enlivening, lovely look;
The valley’s green with joys of hope;
The Winter old and weak ascends
Back to the rugged mountain slope….

From there, as he flees, he downward sends
An impotent shower of icy hail
Streaking over the verdant vale.
Ah! but the Sun will suffer no white,

Growth and formation stir everywhere,
‘Twould fain with colours make all things bright,

Though in the landscape are no blossoms fair.
Instead it takes gay-decked humanity.

Now turn around and from this height,
Looking backward, townward see.

Forth from the cave-like, gloomy gate
Crowds a motley and swarming array.

Everyone suns himself gladly today.
The Risen Lord they celebrate,

For they themselves have now arisen
From lowly houses’ mustiness,
From handicraft’s and factory’s prison,
From the roof and gables that oppress,

From the bystreets’ crushing narrowness,
From the churches’ venerable night,
They are all brought out into light.
See, only see, how quickly the masses
Scatter through gardens and fields remote;
How down and across the river passes
So many a merry pleasure-boat.

And over-laden, almost sinking,
The last full wherry moves away.
From yonder hill’s far pathways blinking,
Flash to us colours of garments gay.

Hark! Sounds of village joy arise;
Here is the people’s paradise,

Contented, great and small shout joyfully:
“Here I am Man, here dare it to be!”

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