May Day, a personal memory

1 May

It is many years ago now that I found myself in a sun-flooded, absolutely gorgeous meadow in the Vienna Woods (like the one below) doing the first of what was to become a regular reflection on this May 1st holiday on the state of my life and business.Image

After I had put my notebook away and was simply lying back on my picnic blanket enjoying the warmth and the sweetly scented air I suddenly heard in my head Richard Strauss’s “Morgen” and was overwhelmed with well-being. Something about that experience has never completely left me.

Text:

And tomorrow the sun will shine again

And she will reunite us, happy ones,

On the path that I go along

In the middle of this sun-breathing earth …

Onto the wide, wave-blue, shore

We shall quietly and slowly descend

Mute we will gaze into each other’s eyes

And be enveloped in the profound silence of happiness.

– John Henry MacKay

(my translation of what was probably already a German translation of his original)

If you want to hear it, here is a recording of Gundula Janowitz, a member of the famous Mozart ensemble at the Vienna State Opera in the 1950s and 60s and one of my favorite Austrian sopranos, singing with wonderful simplicity:

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