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Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
Schweizerlied ("Swiss Song") C. Blum
Voice and guitar
Jodler (yodel song) with words, in Swiss-German, by Goethe!  Guitar part revised by Tom Potter. 
mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml  2006-11-29
Schweizerlied ("Swiss Song")
English Version
C. Blum Voice and guitar
Translated by Doris Mühlestein and Tom Potter
mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml 2007-01-23

Title: "Schweizerlied" (Swiss Song)

History

The text for "Schweizerlied" is a literary curiosity.  Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832), the great German poet, apparently learned some Swiss during a visit to Switzerland or from friends who spoke Swiss, and used the Swiss language to write the poem that C. Blum (1786-1844)) chose as the text for his delightful song.  The poem, published in 1827, is well-known to Goethe scholars.

I am grateful to my Swiss cousin Doris Mühlestein, for explaining that "Schweizerlied" betrays the fact that Goethe's command of Swiss was, to put it politely, imperfect.  She has provided the following literal translations into standard German, English, and present-day Swiss.

The composer C. Blum (Karl L. Blum) wrote a long-forgotten opera based on Goethe's Faust.  I think it is possible that "Schweizerlied" occurred in that opera.  Franz Schubert also made a setting of "Schweizerlied".

A version of Blum's setting of "Schweizerlied" occurs in Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch, 1858, a famous German songbook for students.  There, 1829 is given as the publication date for Blum's song.

Text

Goethe’s Swiss-German

Uf im Bergli bin i gsässe ha do Vögli zugeschaut.
Hänt gesunge, hänt gesprunge, hänts Nestli gebaut.

In ä Garte bin i gstände, ha de Imbli zugeschaut.
Hänt gebrummet, hänt gesummet, hänt Zelli gebaut.

Uf de Wiese bin i gange, lugt i Summervögle a.
Hänt gesoge, hänt gefloge, gar z’schön hänts getan.

Und da kummt a der Hansel, und da zeig i em froh
wie sie’s mache, und mer lache und maches au so.

 

Standard German

Auf dem Berglein bin ich gesessen und hab den Vögeln zugeschaut.
Sie sangen, sie sprangen und sie bauten das Nestlein.

In einem Garten bin ich gestanden und hab den Bienen zugeschaut.
Sie brummten, sie summten, sie bauten Waben.

Auf der Wiese bin ich gegangen und habe Schmetterlinge angeschaut.
Sie zogen, sie flogen, sie taten so schön.

Und da kommt der Hansel und ich zeig ihm froh
wie sie es machen, und wir lachen und machen es auch so.

 

English

I was sitting on the mountain looking at the birds.
They sang, they jumped and they built the nest.

I was standing in a garden looking at the bees.
They hummed, they buzzed and they built honeycombs.

I was walking on the meadow looking at butterflies.
They sucked, they flew, they did so beautifully

And here comes Hansel and I show him gladly
how they do it, and we laugh and do it too.

 

Present-day Swiss German

Uf em Bergli bin i gsässe ha dä Vögeli zuegluegt.
Hei gsunge, hei gsprunge, hei Nestli baut.

Im nä Garte bin i gstande, ha de Imbli zuegluegt.
Hei brummt, hei gsummt, hei Zelleli baut.

Uf der Wiese bin i gstande, ha Summervögeli agluegt.
Hei gsoge, hei gfloge, gar z’schön hei si ta.

Und da chunnt der Hansel, und i zeig im froh
wie sie’s mache, und mir lache und maches au so.

Remarks

I based the text of my English version of "Schweizerlied" on Doris Mühlestein's literal translation above.  In order to make the song singable in English, I made a few changes to her text, while trying to retain the simplicity and charm of the original poem.

References

Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch, Verlag Moritz Schauenburg, 1858.  A facsimile edition is available on the Internet in the Wiki-Source project at http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Allgemeines_Deutsches_Kommersbuch
"Schweizerlied" occurs on p. 236 at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/De_Schauenburg_Allgemeines_Deutsches_Kommersbuch_236.jpg

C. Blum, "Schweizerlied", in Büchler, Albert, "Guitarre-Schule von F. Carulli", Köln, 1906, p. 156.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, "Schweizerlied", Odyssee Theatre website, http://www.odysseetheater.com/goethe/texte/gedichte_glieder.htm

Mühlestein, Doris, personal communication.

Wasserman, Janet I., "The Faust Legend in Music", 2003, website, http://www.carolinaclassical.com/faust/index.html

 

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