The beautiful Magelone

When we were young, you and I, we spent whole afternoons on the ground of your massive, always a bit dark living room. Your chairs and tables were made of heavy wood. Oak I guess, but I might be wrong because some of the pieces were nearly black. In the left hand corner stood a massive and obviously very old palm tree, whose leaves shivered in the light breeze that came through the high windows. One was never sure if the windows were open or closed. Heavy curtains, made from red velvet hung in front of them. My grandfather brought them, you told me and shrug your shoulders as if you wanted to excuse the rather unusual sense of taste, but I loved the place, loved the slight dust everywhere, loved your scent that was inseparable from the room, loved the cushions with their Persian patterns, all of them faded but still a reminder of once more colorful days.Hour after hour we spent on the floor listening to music of the old record player, whose needle scratched noisily along and from time to time needed readjustment. And it was on the very same ground, next to your shoulders when we listened for the very first time to Johannes Brahms song cycle „The Beautiful Magelone.“ And I told you the old, the very old story that took place in the fifthteenth century, where the beautiful neapolitan princess Magelone fell in love with the duke Peter. But Magelone was meant to become someone’s else wife. They ran off together, but ran into a world were Peter was captured by Ottoman soldiers and their ways disrupted. Two centuries later it was Ludwig Tieck, who brought back the story into light till Johannes Brahms transformed it into music. The music follows a story, where feelings constantly change and Brahms constantly changes the nature of the songs, one finds everything in his music, from a lullaby to rhapsody. But again and again you asked for one song out of the twelve,“Geliebter wo zaudert“ where Peter lies on a boat, torn between his feelings for Magelone and the beautiful daughter of the sultan Sulima, who wants to fill the gap opened through their separation. In the end the daughter of the Sultan does not succeed, Peter and Magelone find their way back to each other and year after year they come back to the place where their love once begun to sing the very same song. And we on the floor listened again and again, you bent forward and kissed me with your featherlight and always a bit dry lips and never minded that I did not kiss you back. But one day, when I went up the stairs in the late light of the afternoon, under my arm a record my grandmother just had sent me, you did not open the door when I knocked. Not on this day, nor on any of the following days. One day, many months later, a new name appeared on the door. For many years I did not listen to Brahms anymore and nearly forgot the story of the „Beautiful Magelone“ and even today when sometimes in the radio they play a song or two of the cycle I do not listen too carefully. But I wonder if somewhere, you still lie on a floor, next to you a pile of nearly faded cushions, the old palm-tree just around the corner and if you tell someone again and again the old, the very old story of Peter and the beautiful Magelone, as once I did so many times.

One thought on “The beautiful Magelone

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.