Why translate German Lieder into English?
The audience for German lieder in English-speaking countries is very small. I wanted to bring German lieder to a wider English speaking audience, to a chamber music audience. The music of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Wolf, and Richard Strauss speaks to the human condition in any age. The Romantic poetry in these songs is about the love of nature, loneliness, fear, hope, infatuation, gratitude, and wonder. In an age of supertitles in the opera house, lieder concerts are the poor cousins of the vocal music world. My translations are an attempt to bring lieder out of the special niche they occupy to a place where they can be enjoyed by many more people of all ages.
I wanted to fashion modern, idiomatic translations of the German poetry. It had to have the same stresses and emphasis as the music and I tried to say the same thing in the same place as the composer did. German is a
"homey" language, and I found that as I went along, that if I wrote as simply as possible, while staying true to what the poet originally said, that very close translations could be achieved.