little things

I was going to complain today about how a lot of little things are getting me down. Like the rain, and my messy house, and the puddles of pee Daniel is leaving on the floor instead of in the potty (candy didn't work), the 6 beastly measures of an otherwise playable choral piece I'm performing next Friday. Instead, I share with you the German text and English translation of one of my favorite lieder: "Auch kleine Dinge" by Hugo Wolf.

Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken,
auch kleine Dinge können theuer sein.
Bedenkt, wie gern wir uns mit Perlen schmücken;
sie werden schwer bezahlt und sind nur klein.
Bedenkt, wie klein ist die Olivenfruicht,
und wird um ihre Güte doch gesucht.
Denkt an die Rose nur, wie klein sie ist,
und duftet doch so lieblich, wie ihr wisst.

Even little things can delight us,
even little things can be precious.
Consider how we love to bedeck ourselves with pearls;
they are costly and are only small.
Consider how small is the olive fruit,
and yet it is sought for its fineness.
Think only of the rose, how small it is,
and yet how lovely it smells, as you know.

I am thinking about this song today because while the little things are getting me down, the little things can help me feel better: a cup of green tea, making dinner for a friend's family to help them out, the greek style yogurt I just discovered at the grocery store, Anya's naptime whenever she gets around to it.

When I was just starting the collaborative piano program at the you-dub School of Music, I learned and performed all 46 songs in Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch for one of my first recitals. "Auch kleine Dinge" opens the songbook, and is one of those pieces that sounds very simple but is in actuality very difficult for both singer and pianist. (The same can be said for just about every Wolf song, actually, except the ones that sound difficult to begin with; those are even more difficult to execute.) In fact, I believe that no one can truly appreciate the amount of effort it takes to make "Auch kleine Dinge" seem so, well, effortless except seasoned musicians who have performed it themselves. Doing it well is worth every bit of the effort, though.

I could go in about a dozen different directions with this post, but I have to do something about the messy house and Daniel has just about used up his allotted TV time. So I am leaving you with a question: what are the little things that are making or breaking YOUR day?


Scott said…
Thanks for this entry, Susan. I'm currently all caught up in the BIG things (joblessness, the Future, my stolen computer, my role in life) but the little things are always what it's really about. So, here are some little things I'm thankful for today:

Caramel-flavored black tea with hazelnut brittle pieces.

My baby saying "pajama!" when she saw her new PJs.

A lovely poem by Wendell Berry that I'm setting as an art song for an old friend.

Also, thanks for the reminder about "Auch Kleine Dinge." Something about that song never sticks for long in my memory, but every time I hear it, play it, or think about it, I think, "This is truly one of the most sublime things ever written." And then a week later I forget. That must say something about my brain.
Mrs. Allroro said…
I really enjoyed each child enering the classroom this morning after spring break and greeting me. Even the crazy ones.
Animal said…
Making: the crocuses being all yellow and white and purple down by the porch steps. Roslyn learning to laugh when she - or anyone else - farts.

Breaking: the 24-hour news cycle. Seriously. There's only so much I can bear to hear the words "trillion-dollar deficit," "executive bonuses," and/or "Geithner-Bernanke." Fuh.
Thanks for the reminder, Susan! :)
Breaking: still waiting for an important phone call (from the PhD program); being annoyed at a certain professor's style of leading a pedagogy class...; wanting to run outside but knowing it'll be too dark when I get home from class...

Making: not having to work late tonight! Enjoying tea (even if it is at work)! Looking forward to one of my favorite meals tonight that I made ahead a couple of days ago!
It can be so challenging to stay focused on the positive...
Pam said…
Kindness and smiles make my day. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Popular Posts