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Britten's "Noye's Fludde" in German

I don't know whether anyone else is interested, but I thought I'd throw it out just in case... The Berlin Phil has a concert of Benjamin Britten's "Noye's Fludde" (a.k.a. "Noah's Flood") available free online. (You do have to register for the site, but they don't spam you with emails or anything.) The original is in English, but it's sung here in German with German subtitles. The story and text are pretty simple, so it's easy to follow along with even if you don't understand every word. I think it's by far the most accessible (to language learners) German-language classical production I've ever seen. It's a really beautiful and fun piece, the production is lovely (I always cry at the end, even though it's not sad!), and the simplicity of the text is satisfying because I can understand so much of it.

Apologies if people aren't interested!... German-language classical music is always incredibly motivating to me as a language learner because it always reminds me of how beautiful German can be, and how incredible the cultural heritage is, and it restores my joy in the language whenever I have a headache from wrestling with grammar all day. Unfortunately the texts of most pieces are either too complicated or too formal for me to follow along with, and often it's hard to hear the words. This production is an exception. (You can't understand the chorus well, but the soloists enunciate really clearly and slowly most of the time.) So I hope maybe some other people will find it enjoyable/useful/motivating. For me it's one of those earworms that I can't stop listening to, and there are a lot of moments where I start feeling tired of studying so much German and then I hit a word that's in the German translation of "Noye's Fludde" and the wonderful music starts playing in my head and I remember why I love studying the language. (I get the same thing with bits of Strauss and Beethoven and Wagner and so on, but those texts are complicated enough that I can't really follow along the way I can with this piece.)

Anyway. Hope everyone is having a great day of language learning. ;-)


February 5, 2018



This sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Do you know Schubert's "Winterreise"? I love it, in particular in the version sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I think his pronunciation is very clear, for example here in "Gute Nacht". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3JVZZ-INyM

This is the lyrics: http://www.gopera.com/winterreise/songs/cycle.mv?song=1


Yes!!!! That is one of my favorites... I have the Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau recording and I've listened to it a million times (well, OK, maybe not THAT many). I actually quoted "Gute Nacht" in the MS of the book I just finished writing. I haven't listened since I had just started learning German, though, so it seemed pretty difficult to me back then. But maybe it would be easier now. Thanks so much for reminding me.

I think the text of "Noye's Fludde" is so simple partly because it's been translated... I could understand quite a bit even when I had only been learning German for a couple weeks.

Thanks for your comment! It's so lovely to "meet" another Fischer-Dieskau "Winterreise" fan. Put a smile on my face.


This is a truly heartwarming exchange. I'm so glad that you like that Winterreise, too! :-)

[deactivated user]

    I'm not really into classical music but I just dropped by to congratulate Elyse on her opening a thread. See... told you it was easy. :)

    Have an upvote.


    Thank you! I took your advice. ;-)

    I think this piece is on the accessible side (it's written for children to perform, and to enjoy performing, so it's fun whether you're a newbie or an expert). I have a friend who's probably in his 60s now and performed this piece as a kid, and it was one of the things that got him hooked on music for life. I really dislike classical-music snobbery, though, so I get that it isn't everyone's thing. Just hope some people might enjoy it too. (I've always had really high stress levels and for me it really helps to totally immerse myself in classical music, so I can't listen to the German songs that other people recommend without my stress levels shooting up.)

    Thanks for your kind words... I am really shy of posting on the internet, but this board has been a fun place. Nice to have company in my German adventures, since I don't get that in the country where I live. (Just have to break myself of the habit of writing novels in response to every comment... Writer problems.)


    Oh, my! No need to apologize. Many many of us love classical music and any good resources are so welcome. I will listen to this with much pleasure. As I learn German I can't help myself from hearing Mozart in my head ("Züruck!" "So bald..), and Bach ("In deine hande...) and even bad boy Wagner (can't think of anything right now). The more the better! I even tried Rammstein (not my cup of tea, alas!) But I really liked Einstürzende Neubauten (check out "Ich gehe jetzt" very slow, clear German). I found Marlene Dietrich's "Where have all the Flowers Gone?" German rendition, absolutely awesome. Thanks!


    Wonderful comment! Thank you. Is that the "Zurück!" from "Magic Flute," where Tamino is trying to enter the temples? That's the one that rings in my head all the time. I hear bits of "Magic Flute" (I guess I should call it "Zauberflöte" here) continuously as I study, so I'll start laughing in the middle of a grammatical exercise because I'm thinking of Papageno's lines. And I also find myself singing bits of "Rosenkavalier" under my breath multiple times a day while I'm studying, and then I get teary-eyed and have to stop and watch Renée Fleming sing the Marschallin again.

    I felt a bit nervous about mentioning Wagner--I'm a huge fan of his music (I even own the scores to most of his operas, even though I had to teach myself musical notation in order to read them) but obviously not of his political legacy. One of my main interests as a writer, though, is the conundrum of how artists can produce work that's full of beauty and simultaneously leave legacies that are full of hate, so that aspect of his work is something I wrestle with on a daily basis. I'm fascinated/appalled by how the Nazis coopted even the music of Beethoven (the "alle Menschen werden Brüder" guy!) and used it as Nazi propaganda, but obviously Wagner is in a class to himself in terms of Nazi connections. I have an uncle-by-marriage who's an Israeli classical pianist and I'm always worried that he stews every time I write about my love for Wagner's music... He's friends with Martha Argerich, who's close with Daniel Barenboim, so I hope he has sympathy with Barenboim's attempts to break down the ban on Wagner in Israel--but it's such a loaded issue that I've never dared to ask.

    I hope you enjoy the Britten piece! I know some people have a prejudice against his work, but I think it's great, and I hope there will be a big Britten revival sometime soon. "Noye's Fludde" is such a fun and beautiful little (comparatively) piece, and I actually like it in German better than the English-language recordings I've heard (although none of the ones I've heard in English were played by such an incredible orchestra as the Berlin Phil, which might be a factor). This production is also very German, so it has that added bit of Germanness here. Some of those German productions can be pretty out there, but this one is full of adorable kids so it just makes you go "awwww..."

    So glad some others appreciated the link! I didn't grow up with classical music, so I'm always thrilled to encounter other fans.

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    Elyse - Thanks for the link.


    Thanks for commenting to say thanks :-)

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