Elegischer Gesang

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"Elegischer Gesang" ("Elegiac Song"), Op. 118, is a short work by Ludwig van Beethoven scored for string quartet and four mixed voices.[1] It is a setting of a text by Ignaz Franz Castelli (1781–1862). Although not published until 1826, it dates from 1814[2] and is dedicated to his friend and patron Baron Johann Baptist von Pasqualati of Osterberg, whose wife Eleonore had died three years earlier at the age of 24 years. It is one of Beethoven's least known works and is not often performed or recorded.



Sanft, wie du lebtest, hast du vollendet, zu heilig für den Schmerz! Kein Auge wein' ob des himmlischen Geistes Heimkehr.

English (direct)[edit]

Gentle as you lived, have you completed too sacred for the pain! No eye weep if Heavenly Spirit homecoming.

English (lyrical)[edit]

Gently, as you lived, have you died, too holy for sorrow! Let no eye shed tears for the spirit's heavenly homecoming.

—OR—Life gently touched thee, And passed as softly. Thou spirit, too holy to know pain! No eye could weep for this heavenly spirit, when homeward turning Ah, life gently touched thee, and passed as softly. Yes, and passed as softly.


  1. ^ Byrne, Lorraine (2004). Goethe: musical poet, musical catalyst: proceedings of the Conference hosted by the Department of Music, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 26 & 27 March 2004. Peter Lang. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-904505-10-5. 
  2. ^ Detroit Symphony Orchestra, program notes May 29, 2008

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