Lorelei

Theme / Romanticism

Complete change of scenery – I practice – perhaps too often – the principle of changing rhythm and sensations, in order to maintain a bit of variety.

How do I go from Tolstoy’s epic and heroic greatness to something completely different? I found only the opposite, the cult of feeling : romanticism.

So, if that pleases you, let’s leave the casual shores of France for the colder waters of my German neighbors – Love in Germany doesn’t sound the same.

It was in Germany – and in the United Kingdom – that Romanticism was dreamt of.
From my point of view as a Frenchwoman, one can imagine no worse idea of love: Romantic love is the one that kills you, the one that breaks you, the one from which you will never recover – the one that has so little time for happiness that it is a pale sun shining in a night of tears.
If I were to dream of love, it would be made of joy, laughter, enthusiasm and pure childishness – so I am not at all in my subject matter when I embark on German Romanticism.

I’m saying this so that you’ll forgive me all the disappointment in some of my sentences: you don’t magically transform a boar into a river nymph like that. – Well, I don’t know how to do that.

I won’t say anything about Goethe. I swear.
Today, it is the terrible fate of the beautiful Lorelei that keeps me busy.

She gave her name to a cliff that falls into the Rhine and it is said that she is there, at the very top, and that she sees men die in the cold waters of her river.
She is the German mermaid who sings so well that the currents and reefs are forgotten.
She is this Laure who was deceived, whose love was scorned, who fell into the Rhine.
She is this witch with green hair, twisted by sadness.
She is a myth – the myth of the irrational – the myth of love that kills you.

She is also the one who switched me from science to literature – I never really got over the Apollinaire poem dedicated to her.
I didn’t know that one could give so many images, so many dreams, so many feelings with words – they weren’t just any words.

Extrait – en Version Originale : Ô belle Loreley aux yeux pleins de pierreries
De quel magicien tiens-tu ta sorcellerie
Je suis lasse de vivre et mes yeux sont maudits
Ceux qui m’ont regardée évêque en ont péri
Mes yeux ce sont des flammes et non des pierreries
Jetez jetez aux flammes cette sorcellerie
Je flambe dans ces flammes ô belle Loreley
Qu’un autre te condamne tu m’as ensorcelé
Évêque vous riez Priez plutôt pour moi la Vierge
Faites-moi donc mourir et que Dieu vous protège
Mon amant est parti pour un pays lointain
Faites-moi donc mourir puisque je n’aime rien
Mon cœur me fait si mal il faut bien que je meure
Si je me regardais il faudrait que j’en meure
Mon cœur me fait si mal depuis qu’il n’est plus là
Mon cœur me fit si mal du jour où il s’en alla
L’évêque fit venir trois chevaliers avec leurs lances
Menez jusqu’au couvent cette femme en démence
Va-t’en Lore en folie va Lore aux yeux tremblants

Then, as she is so beautiful – as her sadness is infinite – as her torment is eternal – as her vengeance is so cruel – inevitably, there has been for her an outpouring of artists.
For Lorelei – painters, sculptors.
For Lorelei – musicians – singers – operas.
For Lorelei – dancers
For Lorelei – poets – playwrights
For Lorelei – films, comics, series

Altair will therefore have no choice but to share with you the infinite sadness of the beautiful lady of the Rhine banks.

But you will only have to come if you are accompanied by the one you love.
These will be shows reserved for true lovers.
Is it unfair? Yes.
And I completely assume it. But you have to be two, and united in a real bond, to hear this pain and be happy to be two.

Here are the three “canonical” versions: the original one, the German one – with a virtual walk on the Rhine

The one I prefer because it uses Apollinaire’s words :

I won’t spare the Lorelei of Liszt – I’m not that stingy, but no, what do you think?

Here is a modern adaptation, which seems to me really very very interesting: with three Lorelei instead of one – even if there are a couple of biases that I don’t really like, I agree that it must be a good show – very good.

That’s all for tonight, a little bit of cold water for a first December – it was appropriate.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to return to my natural lightness – and the truth is, I don’t like the cold.

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Featured Image : Joseph Mallord William Turner – The Lorelei and the Rhine

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