Arnold Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 2 Op. 10 was composed in 1908. The
3rd and 4th movements include a soprano part with lyrics by poet Stefan
George — who Mahler also used frequently. I lose myself in tones…
I feel wind from other planets.
I faintly through the darkness see faces
Friendly even now, turning toward me.
And trees and paths that I loved fade
So I can scarcely know them and your bright
Beloved shadow — summon my anguish —
Are only extinguished completely in a deep glowing
In the frenzy of the fight
With a pious show of reason.
I lose myself in tones, circling, weaving,
With unfathomable thanks and unnamed love
I happily surrender to the great breath.
A violent wind passes over me
In the sway of commitment where ardent cries
In dust flung by women on the ground:
Then I see a filmy mist rising
In a sun-filled, open expanse
That includes only the farthest mountain hatches.
The land looks white and smooth like whey,
I climb over enormous canyons.
I feel as if above the last cloud
Swimming in a sea of crystal radiance —
I am only a spark of the holy fire
I am only a whisper of the holy voice.