Friday, November 2, 2007

Poetry in Translation

The Juilliard Orchestra performance at Avery Fisher Hall on November 7 features Symphony No. 0 by Alfred Schnittke. Poems by Joseph Brodsky and Starets Siluan as well as the notes from the Dresden Philharmonic are translated by faculty member Harold Slamovitz for the Lincoln Center Playbill.

The Juilliard Percussion Ensemble recently performed Kaija Saariaho’s Trois Rivières. Harold’s translation of poetry by Li Po for the piece (see below) also appeared in the October issue of Lincoln Center’s Playbill.

Moonlit Night on the River

Softly the breeze rises on the river,
Sadly the trees shiver near the lake.

I go up to the prow in the calm, beautiful night.

The mats are spread out and the boat springs lightly forward.

The moon follows the fleeing of the dark mountains,

The water flows with the blue sky,

As deeply, upside down, as the celestial sky.

Nothing is visible, only the blended shadow of tree and cloud.

The road of return is long, long;

The immensity of the river is sad, sad.

I am alone, the orchid flowers disappear,

The song of the fisherman recalls my sadness.

The steep detour hides the shore behind,

The pale sand shows a reef in front.

I think of you, Lord, my sight no longer reaches you,

And my vision, lost in the distance muses on my regret.

Also known as Li Po, Li Bai is one of the most celebrated poets of the golden age of Chinese poetry. He lived in the first half of the 8th century, during the T’ang Dynasty.

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