Die Gedanken Sind Frei

SATB, piano

"Die Gedanken sind frei" -- "My thoughts are free" -- was the rallying cry and protest song of the German Peasant Wars, class uprisings which predated the French Revolution by two centuries. This vibrant choral arrangement, with a feisty new English translation, is full of wit, surprises, and some healthy defiance.

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Walden Hill Vocal Ensemble; Joseph Mish, conductor. Saint Paul, MN

Text Author or Source: 
16th c. German protest song (arr.) Singing translation and additional lyrics by Elizabeth Alexander

"Die Gedanken Sind Frei"
German 16th c. protest song
Singing translation and new lyrics by composer Elizabeth Alexander

Die Gedanken sind frei, I proudly profess them.
As hard as you try, you cannot suppress them.
No fence can confine them,
No creed undermine them,
They ring from on high:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

They laugh like a child, and sing and make merry,
They bloom ever wild like flow'rs on a prairie,
They wind and they wander,
They pensively ponder,
They soar to the sky.
Die Gedanken sind frei!

If you try to bind my thoughts in a prison,
The next day you'll find that they have arisen!
A brainstorm will thunder,
And burst chains asunder,
And off they will fly,
Die Gedanken sind frei!

They're liable to change as I become older,
So don't think it strange if they become bolder!
They won't remain static
Packed up in some attic;
To that, I'll say: "Fie!"
Die Gedanken sind frei.

...Tho' you may despise them,
I shall not disguise them,

You can't codify them,
And I won't deny them,

Go on and deride them,
I'm not going to hide them,

Assail me or jail me,
My thoughts shall not fail me,

It's useless to ban them,
Or pan them or can them,
So don't even try....
Die Gedanken sind frei!

© 2010 by Elizabeth Alexander. All rights reserved.