However I believe that issue is rather irrelevant here. Even if it was true that most native English speakers are linguistic slouches I somehow doubt if that is the case with us folk who have developed an interest in music and who try their best to appreciate vocal music in languages other than English. In my case I happened to go to a school (many many decades ago!) in which music was regarded as a real naff subject. When a love of music developed in my late teens I cursed the school for its deficiency in that regard, but then the need to develop a career in a field in which music played no part resulted in music becoming sadly marginalised to spare time.
I suspect much the same might be true of others here who, each late afternoon, begin anxiously checking their computer to see if MusicWeb has been updated. Maybe in many regards I am a veritable slouch, but then in order to further my interests I have learnt to read a simple score so that I can just about make sense of an example given in an article or book. I'm also not too bad at a rendition of Three Blind Mice on the piano with clumsy and stiff fingers, although a fugue on it would be way beyond me. These slight abilities have been developed in my dotage.
Am I a lazy person? In many respects undoubtedly. But then I wouldn't hesitate for a moment in summoning up the energy to further those abilities which enable my interests to develop beyond the mere basic. In terms of languages I can just about find my way to the railway station in France or Germany or Italy or at a pinch Sweden, but not sadly in Russia or Estonia or Hungary. However I lack the skills to be able to grasp without, as it were, thinking about it, literary texts written in the former languages. Sloth I may be, but an Eric Sams or a Richard Wigmore translation will provide what seems an almost complete access to the text of a song by Schubert or Schumann or Wolf - and a far better access than would my own limited German accompanied by a hasty grab at an English-German dictionary.
I have lapsed into mere autobiography. The main point here is that for reasons established by others it is really obligatory upon record companies to provide libretti (ahem) and translations whenever possible. A single illustration: I recently dug out from the shelves the Bloch opera Macbeth. Yes, I know the play almost inside out, but in neither of the two recordings I possess is there a translation. Time and time again there were moments when, although I knew approximately what was going on, my appreciation of the opera would have been heightened had I a translation, even a clumsy one, of Fleg's libretto based on Shakespeare. One more example: I recently revisited Reyer's Sigurd. Now in the case of that recording there isn't even a libretto provided, let alone a translation. The result: despite passages of superb orchestration the opera - at least for me - was a closed book. Is it not near futile for a company to provide a recording, and to hope to sell it across an international market, where the words are only accessible to French speakers and also those with good enough ears to pick out the sung words above an orchestra in full flight?
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