Schubert – Three Songs for Orchestra and Soprano (Fleming, Abbado)

American operatic soprano Renée Fleming sings three Songs for Orchestra and Soprano by Franz Schubert. Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado. Live recording from the Lucerne Festival, 2005.

Programme

  1. 0:14 Nacht und Träume, D 827 (Franz Schubert, orchestrated by Max Reger) (1)
  2. 4:26 Die Forelle, D 550 (Franz Schubert, orchestrated by Benjamin Britten) (2)
  3. 7:00 Gretchen am Spinnrade, D 118 (Franz Schubert, orchestrated by Max Reger) (3)

Notes

  1. Nacht und Träume (Night and Dreams) is a lied for voice and piano by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert, from a text by Matthäus von Collin, and published in 1825. In Otto Erich Deutsch’s catalogue of Schubert’s works, it is D. 827. The song, a meditation on night and dreams, is marked “Sehr langsam” (very slowly) and is in the key of B major (with a modulation to the flattened submediant, G major, in the middle). There is a single dynamic indication, “pianissimo” (very quietly), which does not change throughout the song.

    German text

    Heil’ge Nacht, du sinkest nieder;
    Nieder wallen auch die Träume
    Wie dein Mondlicht durch die Räume,
    Durch der Menschen stille Brust.
    Die belauschen sie mit Lust;
    Rufen, wenn der Tag erwacht:
    Kehre wieder, heil’ge Nacht!
    Holde Träume, kehret wieder!

    English translation

    Holy night, you sink down;
    The dreams flow down, too,
    Like your moonlight through the rooms,
    Through the people’s silent chests.
    They listen softly with desire;
    They call, when day awakens:
    Come back, holy night!
    Sweet dreams, come back!

  2. “Die Forelle” (German for “The Trout”), Op. 32, D 550. is a lied, or song, composed in early 1817 for solo voice and piano with music by Schubert. He chose to set the text of a poem by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, first published in the Schwäbischer Musenalmanach in 1783. The full poem tells the story of a trout being caught by a fisherman, but in its final stanza reveals its purpose as a moral piece warning young women to guard against young men. When Schubert set the poem to music, he removed the last verse, which contained the moral, changing the song’s focus and enabling it to be sung by male or female singers. Schubert produced six subsequent copies of the work, all with minor variations.

    German text

    Die ihr am goldnen Quelle
    Der sichern Jugend weilt,
    Denkt doch an die Forelle,
    Seht ihr Gefahr, so eilt!
    Meist fehlt ihr nur aus Mangel
    Der Klugheit. Mädchen seht
    Verführer mit der Angel!
    Sonst blutet ihr zu spät.

    English translation

    You who tarry by the golden spring
    Of secure youth,
    Think still of the trout:
    If you see danger, hurry by!
    Most of you err only from lack
    Of cleverness. Girls, see
    Seducers with their tackle!
    Or else, too late, you’ll bleed.

  3. Op. 2 in D minor, Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel), was composed by the Austrian composer using the text from Part One, Scene 15 of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust. With Gretchen am Spinnrade and other works, Schubert reintroduced the Lied, a German art song from the 19th century written for one voice and accompaniment. Schubert originally composed for soprano, however it has been transposed and performed to accommodate mezzo-soprano.

    German text

    Meine Ruh ist hin,
    Mein Herz ist schwer,
    Ich finde sie nimmer
    Und nimmermehr.
    Wo ich ihn nicht hab,
    Ist mir das Grab,
    Die ganze Welt
    Ist mir vergällt.
    Mein armer Kopf
    Ist mir verrückt,
    Mein aremer Sinn
    Ist mir zerstückt.

    Nach ihm nur schau ich
    Zum Fenster hinaus,
    Nach ihm nur geh ich
    Aus dem Haus.

    Sein hoher Gang,
    Sein’ edle Gestalt,
    Seines Mundes Lächeln,
    Seiner Augen Gewalt,

    Und seiner Rede
    Zauberfluss,
    Sein Händedruck,
    Und ach, sein Kuss.

    Mein Busen drängt
    Sich nach ihm hin.
    Auch dürf ich fassen
    Und halten ihn,

    Und küssen ihn,
    So wie ich wollt,
    An seinen Küssen
    Vergehen sollt!

    English translation

    My peace is gone,
    My heart is heavy,
    I will find it never
    and never more.
    Where I do not have him,
    That is the grave,
    The whole world
    Is bitter to me.

    My poor head
    Is crazy to me,
    My poor mind
    Is torn apart.

    For him only, I look
    Out the window
    Only for him do I go
    Out of the house.

    His tall walk,
    His noble figure,
    His mouth’s smile,
    His eyes’ power,

    And his mouth’s
    Magic flow,
    His handclasp,
    and ah! his kiss!

    My peace is gone,
    My heart is heavy,
    I will find it never
    and never more.

    My bosom urges itself
    toward him.
    Ah, might I grasp
    And hold him!

    And kiss him,
    As I would wish,
    At his kisses
    I should die!

Sources

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