Immortal Beauty

By Johna Till Johnson

Maria Radner

Maria Radner, 1981-Eternity

Among the victims of Germanwings Flight 9525 was Maria Radner, a German opera singer. She was a 33-year old contralto who specialized in Wagner.  I hadn’t heard of her before—no surprise since I’m new to opera, and have yet to warm to Wagner’s music.

But a commentator on one of the news stories posted the video below. Maria Radner sings “Urlicht” (“Primeval Light”) from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the Resurrection Symphony.

It’s just under five minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite so lovely. Looking into her serene blue-gray eyes and insouciant half smile, and listening to that soaring voice, all I can think of is that although a deranged man was able to take away her life, the beauty she brought into this world is immortal.

The lyrics translate as follows:

I am from God and want to return to God!
The loving God will give me a little of the light,
will illuminate me into the eternal blessed life!

She got that wish.

I only wish that it hadn’t happened quite so soon.

62 responses to “Immortal Beauty

  1. What a beautiful tribute! How sad that her voice was unnecessarily silenced far too early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes, very sad. I can’t listen to that piece without crying. She was so beautiful, in every way, and just gone… Thanks for reading, and posting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Johna, this gave me goose bumps. Thank you so much.

    Like

    • Johna Till Johnson

      You are most welcome… I still can’t believe I discovered her after we lost her. I’m eternally grateful to the man that posted the link in the first place–it was a burst of sunshine after reading all the dark and despairing news.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful voice; beautiful tribute. Thank you.

    Like

  4. The world has lost a great and beautiful talent.

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    SEE WHAT THE ALLEGED SELFISHNESS OF ONE STUPID COPILOT WILL DO?

    Like

  6. Beautiful tribute to one who shared the beautiful gift of her voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Johna, thank you for giving Maria’s voice the chance to carry the little light a little farther, and to give us each a little light in return. As Leonard Bernstein once said, “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Maria’s reply is music’s reply. It illuminates us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. thank you for helping keep
    her beautiful song alive

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, Johna, for this post, and bringing it to my awareness. I have tried to quickly hear the audio, probably need to sign up, but will “pocket” it for now. However the tragedy is not just the senseless loss of this very talented woman, but of course she and what she brought to us, and all the others souls so sadly taken from us. It’s just…sad, M :-(

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Opps, a second look and I have the audio, simply awesome. M

    Like

  11. Wonderful thoughtful post Johna, a deep sadness here in the USA on this tragedy for this lovely lady, her talent and every soul taken away needlessly. My heart aches for the families and friends of each person may they find some peace and solace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks for posting, Cheryl. Yes, I can’t imagine how it must feel—first to lose someone (or someones) and then discover it was murder, and therefore totally unnecessary…. The world must seem very bleak to those families right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on Haiku Journey and commented:
    So much unfathomable loss, of youth, beauty, life…

    Like

  13. Ah, Johna, such a fitting, heart rending, tribute, and celebration of one taken out of time! You honor all of the souls of flight 9525

    #9525

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tears… the world has lost 150 flickers of light due to the heinous darkness of one nameless person. Prayers for the day we cease killing each other. Thanks you for posting this beautiful tribute Johna – may Maria and all the lost souls RIP in the comfort of eternal love. xo Mai

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a glorious contralto voice…… Such a tragic, senseless loss

    Like

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Glorious, indeed! She was so pretty and girlish… and then she opened her mouth and this wonderful, rich, glorious, queenly voice came out! Thanks for posting.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Thank you for this beautiful tribute! <3
    Big hug from Germany,
    Dina x

    Like

    • Johna Till Johnson

      You are welcome, Dina. It’s nice to remember right now that Germany is the source of so MUCH wonderful art and music.

      Like

  17. Poignant tribute, Johna, to a promising talent so cruelly cut short in the prime of life. Thanks for posting Maria’s Urlicht song from symphony # 2. The beauty of her form and tonal quality is bound to live in the hearts of her admirers. I join you in condoling the painful loss, not excluding the over hundred other lives aboard that ill-fated flight… Raj.

    Like

  18. Thank you for posting. I love opera, and Wagner, and cannot begin to feel the pain those who loved her are going through.

    Like

    • Johna Till Johnson

      If anyone could lead me to appreciate Wagner, it is she :-). I’ll get there, I’m sure. It’s not so many years ago that I didn’t appreciate opera.

      Thanks for posting!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Such a terrible tragedy for all those bereaved families.. Her voice is heavenly.

    Like

  20. Thank you for this.

    Like

  21. Oh my, your tribute moved me deeply. Thank you for keeping her voice and life immortal. Beautifully written Johna. I posted your tribute on my FB page, which reaches many more people than the blog.

    Like

  22. The whole thing is so unbelievably sad. Thank you for the tribute,
    Pit

    Like

  23. It is wonderful and touching that you shared this with us. I never knew this woman and now I feel like something sweet and innocent has been added to my own spirit.
    Yes, sad that she had to leave so young. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. So unutterably sad. Such a beautiful voice, so much love, care, talent and training in her life.

    Like

  25. That is just superb. What a terrible loss! May God comfort her family and family of fellow singers and musicians. Very thoughtful tribute.

    Like

  26. May the soul of Maria and the souls of all who departed on that flight, Rest in Peace. Please God comfort their families and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Nice! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. So heartbreaking. She had a beautiful voice, such a loss. I love that Mahler piece…in fact I love all of Mahler’s symphonies but my favorite is #5. A beautiful tribute, Vladimir.

    Like

  29. RIP… <3 here in France, we're still impressed and emotional after this human tragedy…

    Liked by 1 person

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