Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Lyrical setting of Rainer Maria Rilke's exquisite poem on loneliness and of hope. The music, introspective and melancholy at first,"falls" gently into the gracious hands of "the One" who holds us all. A tender alto solo opens and closes the piece.


Item Voicing/Instrumentation Duration Price Audio View Score Quantity
Licensed PDF
SATB, alto solo, piano 4:00 $2.00
JS-001 Digital purchase only N/A https://www.joanszymko.com/sites/joanszymko.com/files/VMP001Herbst_0.mp3
Licensed PDF
set opt. bsn parts, (in lieu of piano) $10.00


Joan Szymko



Die Blätter fallen,fallen wie von weit,

als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere
Erde aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen

unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält



The leaves are falling,falling as if from far up,

as if orchards were dying in high space.

Each leaf falls as if it were saying “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling

away from all the other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.

And look at the other one... It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone,whose hands

infinitely calm, hold up all this falling.


Licensed PDF


“Herbst is quintessential Joan Szymko—a perfect marriage of text and music. Not only has she created an evocative and lyrical setting of Rilke's poem,she demonstrates a keen understanding of writing for the voice,one of the hallmarks of her music. There are few composers who so effectively capture the essence of the poetry they set with such consistent beauty.” - Dr. Mary Kay Geston