Close
Skip to content

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt: from Goethe to Sinatra

This lovely poem by Goethe was set to music by both Schubert and Tchaikovsky:

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!
Allein und abgetrennt
Von aller Freude,
Seh ich ans Firmament
Nach jener Seite.
Ach! der mich liebt und kennt,
Ist in der Weite.
Es schwindelt mir, es brennt
Mein Eingeweide.
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

Weiß, was ich leide!

Here is Barbara Bonney performing the Schubert Lied with the original German text:

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

And here is the Tchaikovsky, performed by Ekaterina Sementchuk:

Nur wer die Sehnsucht in Russian

Curiously, the German words fit the music of the Russian version perfectly, suggesting that Tchaikovsky initially wrote the piece with original text in mind.

The Tchaikovsky was the source for an English version of the same song, as performed here by Frank Sinatra:

None but the lonely heart

None but the lonely heart
Can know my sadness
Alone and parted
Far from joy and gladness
Heaven’s boundless arch I see
Spread about above me
O what a distance dear to one
Who loves me
None but the lonely heart
Can know my sadness
Alone and parted
Far from joy and gladness
Alone and parted far
From joy and gladness
My senses fail
A burning fire
Devours me
None but the lonely heart
Can know my sadness

Did you notice that it incorporates a few bars from the Pathétique, presumably by way of homage?

Related Posts