Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ruhe Sanft

Ruhe Sanft, mein holdes Leben is a beautiful aria from Mozart's unfinished opera, Zaide, written in 1780. Roughly translated from German, it means, 'Rest in peace, the love of my life'. Treat yourself and watch one of my favorites, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sing it by clicking here (but come back to read the rest of this post!)

This past Sunday, I was at the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Loretto, MN. Whenever I go to a cemetery, I can't help but think of Mozart's music.

Having traveled throughout Europe, I visited cemeteries where people have been dead and buried longer than the United States has been a federal republic. In comparison, we are young. Even so, we do have some people who go back a hundred years or more. Seeing this headstone, you know why Mozart comes to my mind. And before I get hate posts, yes, I know that it was Johann Andreas Schachtner's libretti for Zaide.

It saddens me when I see younger people buried. Click on the picture below to read the writing on the stone to the right. I can't even imagine this mother's grief, but I can imagine the conversation telling her son to buckle up, and him saying, 'Yeah, don't worry about it, Mom". This is exactly why she worried about you, Luke.

Usually Mozart's Requièm Mass in D minor (K. 626), which was left unfinished at the time of his death on December 5, 1791, runs through my mind, especially when I see images like this. I am reminded of the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria, where I roamed for hours, where so many famous composers are buried like Beethoven, Schubert, and the Strauss'.

If you're like me and speak, read and write German, you will be able to read the headstone in the foreground. Evoking Mozart's naughty side he is said to have had, as do I, you may notice I purposely included the headstone in the background. There are lot of Germans buried in this cemetery, and I can only imagine the torment the name of this family has received.

For those who don't know German, let's just say the polite and proper translation for the word is to 'receive'. In its most vulgar, crude, and literal translation, well, let's just say it's not a Disney word, or one you'd use sitting around the dinner table.

Who says I don't have a sense of humor? I find myself to be quite...


Joannah said...

Great post, Tim! I used to love exploring cemeteries. Lots of local history in a cemetery. :)

Timon said...

Thanks Joannah! I agree that there's so much history in a cemetery. Sadly, there are so many stories that go untold.