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RC 107 Weihnachtslied (“Fern im Osten wird es helle”)

text source

Novalis Schriften Vol. II (Berlin: G. Reimer 5th edition 1837), 23-24
  • Weihnachtslied (“Fern im Osten wird es helle”)
  • Novalis
  • mezzo-soprano and organ
  • 1910-10-05 00:00:00.0 | revised 1911-10-01 00:00:00.0 - 1911-11-30 00:00:00.0

At the end of October 1909 Diepenbrock’s Hymne an die Nacht “Muss immer der Morgen wiederkommen” (Hymn to the Night “Must the Morning Always Return”, RC 50) on a text by Novalis was performed several times by the Hungarian alto Ilona Durigo and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Willem Mengelberg. In the period 1897-1899 Diepenbrock had set five texts from the Geistliche Lieder (Sacred Songs) and the Hymnen an die Nacht by Novalis – pseudonym of Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801) – to music (RC 37, 45, 47, 49 and 50). The works by this German early Romantic poet and philosopher, who died at an early age, meant a lot to the composer. The performances of 1909 rekindled his interest. …more >

Weihnachtslied (incipit)


At the end of October 1909 Diepenbrock’s Hymne an die Nacht “Muss immer der Morgen wiederkommen” (Hymn to the Night “Must the Morning Always Return”, RC 50) on a text by Novalis was performed several times by the Hungarian alto Ilona Durigo and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Willem Mengelberg. In the period 1897-1899 Diepenbrock had set five texts from the Geistliche Lieder (Sacred Songs) and the Hymnen an die Nacht by Novalis – pseudonym of Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801) – to music (RC 37, 45, 47, 49 and 50). The works by this German early Romantic poet and philosopher, who died at an early age, meant a lot to the composer. The performances of 1909 rekindled his interest.

From the summer of 1910 until the autumn of 1911 Novalis’ name frequently popped up in the correspondence between Diepenbrock and his friend Johanna Jongkindt. In June 1910 Diepenbrock started a new composition on a text by this poet: Weihnachtslied (Christmas Song). There is a short draft dating from the beginning of that month, several days after Diepenbrock had made the first sketch for his symphonic song Die Nacht (The Night, RC 106) on a poem by Hölderlin. After the premiere of that work in October 1911, Diepenbrock returned to his Weihnachtslied. The first two verses of the song have been written out for mezzo-soprano and organ, with the tempo indication Andante con moto. Although the manuscript reached more than fifty measures, the composition was never completed.

Characteristic are its ascending triad motives, followed by octave leaps on the opening line “Fern im Osten wird es helle, Graue Zeiten werden jung” (Far away in the east it is becoming bright, dark times become young). Ascending triads such as these, which Diepenbrock regularly uses, often refer to transcendental elements in a text. They can also be found in the hymn Wenige wissen das Geheimnis der Liebe (Few Know the Secret of Love, RC 47/58), which is also on a text by Novalis, and in the introduction of the above-mentioned Die Nacht.

Désirée Staverman



Fern im Osten wird es helle,
Graue Zeiten werden jung;
Aus der lichten Farbenquelle
einen langen tiefen Trunk!
Alter Sehnsucht heilige Gewährung,
Süße Lieb’ in göttlicher Verklärung!

Endlich kommt zur Erde nieder
Aller Himmel selges Kind,
Schaffend im Gesang weht wieder
Um die Erde Lebenswind,
Weht zu neuen ewig lichten Flammen
Längst verstiebte Funken hier zusammen.

Überall entspringt aus Grüften
Neues Leben, neues Blut;
Ewgen Frieden uns zu stiften
Taucht er in die Lebensflut;
Steht mit vollen Händen in der Mitte,
Liebevoll gewärtig jeder Bitte.

Lasse seine milden Blicke
Tief in deine Seele gehn,
Und von seinem ewgen Glücke
Sollst du dich ergriffen sehn.
Alle Herzen, Geister und die Sinnen
Werden einen neuen Tanz beginnen.

Greife dreist nach seinen Händen,
Präge dir sein Antlitz ein,
Mußt dich immer nach Ihm wenden,
Blüte, nach dem Sonnenschein;
Wirst du nur das ganze Herz Ihm zeigen,
Bleibt er wie ein treues Weib dir eigen.

Unser ist sie nun geworden,
Gottheit, die uns oft erschreckt,
Hat im Süden und im Norden
Himmelskeime rasch geweckt,
Und so laßt im vollen Gottesgarten
Treu uns jede Knosp und Blüte warten.


  • C-16(17) Weihnachtslied

    sketch C-16(p17) dated 5 Juni 1910

    • 1910-06-05 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • C-16(69-78)

    C-16(p69-78) dated on the first page 17 Oct 1911 and on the third page 22 Oct 1911

    • 1911-10-17 00:00:00.0 – 1911-10-22 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • C-17(58-59) Weihnaschtslied

    C-17(p58-59) dated 17 Oct 1911

    • 1911-10-17 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • C-18(16-17) Ẁeihnachtslied

    C-18(p16-17) dated 10 Nov 1911

    • 1911-11-10 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • C-22(14-16) Weihnaschtslied

    C-22(p14-16) dated 10 Nov 1911

    • 1911-11-10 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • Map-15(14) Weihnachtslied

    Map-15(14), fragment

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown