Night Air

Based off the Goethe poem "Wandrers Nachlied II" which translates to "Hikers Nightsong II". The text was translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow into English. He incorrectly translated the word "Wandrers" to Wanderer's. The true German meaning is much closer to a hiker rather than a wanderer. With this in mind the piece follows the journey of a hiker working his way to the top of a mountain. The vibraphone functions as and represents the slowly but constantly falling snow as the hiker climbs. Though the poem does not explicitly imply death, the theme of rest and calm seems to suggest that there is more to the text than meets the eye. The kind of rest that the hiker finds at the top of the mountain is up to the listener. Has he finished his climb, or is it the end of his journey through life?


Wandrers Nachtleid II                                       Johann Wolfgang von Goethe                                Trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
The birds in the forest are silent,
just wait, soon
you will rest as well!