Brahms’ “Wie Melodien” Op. 105

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The lyrics for Brahms’ “Wie Melodien” Op. 105, No. 1 are from a poem written by Klaus Groth. It is a poem that never clearly states its true meaning. Instead, it arouses an emotional feeling of one dreaming about something from the past. And, these emotional feelings are expressed in Groth’s poem through a variety of images. The poem begins with using “melodies” as an image. In the first phrase, “Like melodies draw it to me softly through the mind,” the word “melodies” seems to be symbolic of thoughts or memories. These melodies are like a tune that you cannot get out of your head, a memory that he is unable to forget. In his next phrase, “Like spring flowers blossom it and floats like a scent away,” he uses the image of “spring flowers” to refer again to these memories. In the image of this phrase, the memory blooms as easily and naturally as a flower blossoms; and then it fades away in the same way that a flower blooms and then withers. The flower (symbolic of an experience) appears, but even as the flower withers (experience ends) its fragrance (memory of the experience) remains. In the next phrase, “But comes the word and seizes it and leads it before the eye like a misty gray pales/dispels it and vanishes like a breath,” “word” seems to symbolize something that is hard to ignore. It is much harder to ignore words than a melody or a fragrance. The image of “words” expresses reality or something that is less fleeting than a melody or a fragrance. And the harsh reality of these words (that “it” is lost) are incomprehensible like a “gray mist” and confuse his thoughts and feelings. In the last phrase, “Rhyme hidden indeed a fragrance which gently out of still silent bud a moist eye calls forth,” the image of “rhyme” refers back to the melodies in the first phrase. One part that makes up this melody is the rhyme. This is a small part of his memory, and this small part of his memory silently remains with him in the image...
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