Unpublished Lehmann poetry discovered in the Special Collections at UCSB

Lehmann’s poetry from her 1969 book Gedichte

Lehmann’s poetry from the 1923 book Verse in Prosa

Below are various Lehmann poems from random sources

From December 3, 1932

Es klingt ein starker Klang in mir,
ein süsses, wundersames Lied.
Das mich mit weicher linder Hand
In weite, weite Ferne zieht.
Durch meiner Nächte Träume schwebt
der mir ein hohes Ziel verheisst,
der meine Tage jauchzend macht
und sonnenwärts mich siegend reisst.
There is a strong sonority within me,
a sweet, wondrous song.
That draws me far, far away
with a soft, gentle hand.
Through my night’s dreams
floats the one element that promises me a high goal,
that makes my days rejoicing
and snatches me triumphantly towards the sun.
Lehmann reads her poem: “In alten Partituren”

[Here is a second translation of In Alten Partituren]

Today I have read old musical scores –
And, suddenly, the past crashes into my present…
O colorful beauty which was once mine –
O life, fatefully renewed
In fleeting time, removed from the world!
The delight of transformation – who can conceive of it
Who live only ONE life which is limited by reality?
He, who never knows this sweet self-forgetting.
This self-squandering to time,
When the self dissolves in singing –
Living and suffering – hovering as if on wings
In a foreign, peculiarly personal fate –
Hovering on the wings of Music!
I Never Knew sung by Amber Naramore

Here’s an English translation of Lehmann’s poem “Dreiklang” or “Triad” by Judith Sutcliffe

A late Lehmann poem with a translation by Beaumont Glass

Vergessen gibt,
Ich glaube, eines Engels Hand,
Denn abgewandt
Sind wir von dem was einst gewesen.
Genesen von vielen Menschenleben
Müssen, im Aufwärtsstreben,
Auf’s Neu’ und Aberneue wir ersteh’n,
Bis wir verweh’n
In jenem Morgenrot,
Das golden in mein Fenster loht —
Im Wind — in Meereswogen —
Im Sternenstrahl — im Regenbogen —
Im Lächeln Gottes, das du leuchten siehst,
Wenn Abendgold im Meer zerfliesst.
Perhaps it is an angel’s hand
That grants oblivion;
For we are turned aside
From what has been before.
Though healed from many human lives,
We must be born, and ever born again,
Until we fade away
Into that golden dawn
That now is glowing through my window,
One with the wind — the waves —
The starlight — and the rainbow —
One with the smile of God,
That lights the sky
When golden sunsets melt into the sea.

The following pages are from the recital program of Thomas Pasatieri’s cycle based on Lehmann’s poems. They are from Lehmann’s 1969 book Gedichte and will be found (in a different order and with different translations at Lehmann’s poetry from her 1969 book Gedichte.

Finally, for those who always assume Lotte Lehmann was serious and or profound, here’s something silly. As always, it’s difficult to translate humor, so my English version is just an attempt at joking around. In the German version Lehmann uses some English idioms that she writes in German. For example she writes that her singing is “going to the dogs” and you’ll see that her dogs are the focus of the poem. Note that the penultimate line (in German) rhymes with her name which she signs below. And you should know that when she sent this poem she included the following photos of her dogs in operatic dress.

Of course, it is quite understandable:

You have incessantly received

Letters from highly enthusiastic people,

Who’ve mastered

In long, hated vocalizing

From extremely crummy voices,

To train new Carusos and new Flagstadts, 

Which in their wild fire-filled performances sing gloriously

And conquer every audience.

In short: those who teach singing

Want to grace the Metropolitan

With their immensely brilliant mob of students. 

Oh what a throng

Of incredible singing geniuses!!!

I feel somewhat uneasy in my stomach

When I think back to when I myself began

To teach… When

I’d brawl with other teachers

And ambitiously trembling, shaking, panting: 

“This one, oh happy world, experience

This is the true Caruso-tone resurrected…”

I already feel

The bliss that must delight the teacher, 

If he wants to be happy,

Helping the students succeed…

My singing, 

I must admit to myself,

Is soon going to the dogs anyway… 

That’s why I’ve made a lot of effort to train

My highly talented dog as one of my student-singers.

And honestly:

Confident in the future rosy distance

I look up at this star 

That will shine on the Metropolitan…

Just take a look

These expressive role models!

Was Mimi ever sweeter and gentler?

Isn’t Tosca full of seduction?

And don’t you feel deep emotion 

When you look at Elisabeth?


My eyes tremble, ever,

Like this Marschallin, sweet and devoted,

With longing, anxious love glance???

I lay the fate

Of this highly gifted student now in your hands

And wait for the return

Mail for the contract. Consider

This attraction!!! 

This genius will not give himself away…

Because you know: I’m doing business here…

You have to pay a lot…Oh, I’m very shrewd!!!

However, my student is so good

That now the Met with cheerful courage

Can see into the future…

How beautiful!!!

This thought will sweeten 

The rest of my vacation. With best regards

To everyone –  I am, which you can understand – 

One who has never been so proud as now

Lotte Lehmann

The Lehmann poem offered above is not the only silly one that I’ve located. She sent the following one to her pianist Paul Ulanowsky and wrote him into the poem. I’m working on a translation.