Category Archive: Translator

Old books, new books (and new music)

Old books, new books (and new music)

14th October 2021

Attentive readers will have noticed that there was no blogpost last week. I was in York, teaching at YABS, the York Antiquarian Book Seminar: three-and-a-half days talking about books and bookselling to some wonderfully engaged students keen to know more. It’s always an enjoyable few days, and this year particularly so as going away to […]

At Cana

At Cana

1st October 2021

I’ve blogged before about translating, and then setting, the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. As yesterday was International Translation Day, I thought this week I’d write about another piece of mine, At Cana. This was actually what first brought me to Rilke, when, in 2019, I was looking for a text to set for a […]

A lamp left burning

A lamp left burning

3rd June 2021

A version of this review appeared in The TLS in June 2021. It is 75 years since the tragic death of Friedo Lampe, the disabled gay writer who survived the Nazi era only to be summarily shot by the Red Army just days before the end of the War.  When, within months of coming to […]

Three little hazel twigs

Three little hazel twigs

17th December 2020

I was recently reminded about the German tradition of the Barbarazweig, and thought I’d share a short Advent piece by Hugo Distler (1908–1942) which I translated some years ago: I first sang it back in December 1995, when I was living in Germany, and found it quite charming. Distler’s work is little known in the […]

The Angel and the Unicorn

The Angel and the Unicorn

8th October 2020

According to The New Oxford Book of Carols, this year marks the 125th anniversary of the famous carol known in English as ‘Gabriel’s Message’. It is actually a translation, by Sabine Baring-Gould, of a Basque carol, Birjina gaztettobat zegoen, which was collected by the French musician Charles Bordes and published in his Dix cantiques populaires […]

Requiem

Requiem

2nd June 2020

I had a very nice response to last week’s post, on Anna Akhmatova. This week, I thought I’d write about another poet I have translated: Gottfried Benn. I originally came across his first published poem sequence, Morgue (1912), when I was at university and had always been disappointed at other English translations which, to me […]