“The Moon has been arising” …


… this line from the poem “Evening Song” from 1778, by the poet Matthias Claudius (1740–1815), belongs to the best-known poems in German literature, not least of all because it was set to music many times; hence, it does not only remain in one’s memory because of its lyrics, but also because of its melody. Especially as a lullaby, everyone has surely heard it before or even sang it to the children:

Behold, the moon has risen,
the golden stars, they glisten
upon the heavens bright.
The forests rest in shadows,
and from the quiet meadows
white hazes rise into the night.

There are many settings to music and interpretations of the evening song, among others by Franz Schubert or Carl Orff, but also by Herbert Grönemeyer. Here a performance by the “Wilhelmshavener Vocal Ensemble” (in German):

The third verse describes that the reverse side of the Moon remains hidden because of its synchronous rotation:

Behold the moon – and wonder
why half of her stands yonder,
yet she is round and fair.
We are the ones who’re fooling
’cause we are ridiculing
as our minds are unaware.

It is the simplicity of the words and its archaic strength that reminds us of the plain things in life and of something like humility and compassion. So the Moon fits quite perfectly into this scenario.

© Bertram Kottmann



  1. Julian Hardstone | 10 December 2019

    Thanks for this lovely Chorale setting. I must find my record of this by Vocal Concert Dresden.

  2. Brenda Jordan | 3 May 2015

    Thank you for your monthly full moon letter..this newsletter is quite interesting, too..I didn’t know you wrote this one..thanks, Brenda

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