Mignon’s Track “Kennst du das Land” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic. He wrote many various sorts of literary works, and is taken into account one in all Germany’s best writers. Many composers have been and are impressed by his work, and Goethe himself was a music lover. Music options typically in works reminiscent of “Faust” and “Werther”, each of which have been later was well-known operas.

The character of Mignon (who sings “Kennst du das Land”) is discovered within the celebrated “Wilhelm Meister” novels – on this case, “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship”. Mignon is a 13-year-old woman, who was kidnapped from her residence nation of Italy by a troupe of acrobats, and dropped at Germany. She is raised androgynously – therefore the identify Mignon, fairly than the female Mignonne.

Younger, disillusioned service provider Wilhelm is fascinated by Mignon; he buys her freedom, and the 2 kind a detailed bond. Wilhelm is interested in her exoticism and sensuality; her character is considerably of a Lolita/nymphet archetype (these phrases are from the twentieth Century, recognised due to Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita”). In “Kennst du das Land”, Mignon recollects her homeland and expresses her need to go there with Wilhelm – her new father determine.

Right here is the textual content to the music, first in German after which in English. Learn on for examples of how composers set it to music!


Kennst du das Land? wo die Citronen blühn,

Im dunkeln Laub die Gold-Orangen glühn,

Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Himmel weht,

Die Myrte nonetheless und hoch der Lorbeer steht,

Kennst du es wohl?

Dahin! Dahin

Möcht’ ich mit dir, o mein Geliebter, ziehn.

Kennst du das Haus? Auf Säulen ruht sein Dach,

Es glänzt der Saal, es schimmert das Gemach,

Und Marmorbilder stehn und sehn mich an:

Was hat man Dir, du armes Form, gethan?

Kennst du es wohl?

Dahin! Dahin

Möcht’ ich mit dir, o mein Beschützer, ziehn.

Kennst du den Berg und seinen Wolkensteg?

Das Maulthier sucht im Nebel seinen Weg;

In Höhlen wohnt der Drachen alte Brut;

Es stürzt der Fels und über ihn die Flut.

Kennst du ihn wohl?

Dahin! Dahin

Geht unser Weg! o Vater, laß uns ziehn!


Are you aware the land the place the lemon bushes bloom;

the place golden oranges glow amid the darkish foliage?

A mild wind blows from the blue sky,

the myrtle stands nonetheless, the laurel tall:

have you learnt it?

There, O there

I want to go together with you, my beloved!

Are you aware the home? Its roof rests on pillars,

the corridor shines, the room shimmers,

and marble statues stand and have a look at me:

what has been carried out to you, poor youngster?

Are you aware it?

There, O there

I want to go together with you, my protector!

Are you aware the mountain and its clouded walkway?

The mule seeks its approach via the fog,

in caves the traditional brood of dragons dwells;

the rock falls, and the tide falls over it.

Are you aware it?

There, O there

Go our approach! O father, allow us to go!

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Pay attention to those 4 settings of the German textual content, and see how every composer used music to inform the story. Maintain scrolling for 3 particular mentions!

Particular Mentions

  • Thomas – Mignon: Connais-tu le pays

  • *This French setting of the textual content may be very well-known, from the opera “Mignon”.

  • Adamo – Little Girls: Kennst du das Land

  • *On this opera by American composer Mark Adamo, the character Dr. Bhaer sings the primary stanza in German, and the second in English.

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