Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Schubert as Goth : Wigmore Hall tomorrow

Tomorrow at the Wigmore Hall, an extremely interesting programme of Schubert Lieder with Stuart Jackson, Marcus Farnsworth and James Baillieu. WHAT A WONDERFUL RECITAL IT WAS ! REVIEW HERE. At the Wigmore Hall excellence is the norm, but this programme is adventurous, macabre but also an insight into Gothic taste.   Two ballads from 1811, ‘Leichenfantasie’ and ‘Der Vatermörder’, introduce each half of this programme, setting the scene for a very interesting traverse of  Schubert's "wilder shores".  In Leichenfantasie, a father is burying his son in a crypt. But why is the funeral taking place at night?  How did the son die, and why ?  Please also see my piece "Schubert's Anti-Father's Day Rant ")  In Der Vatermörder, a son kills his father. Why? Is the son insane?   And why is Schubert, aged only 14, fascinated with Oedipal impulses? Teenagers are morbid: hence Goths.  Schubert as Goth ? We're in for a jolly evening.

A fisherman sits peacefully on his rocking boat in In Der Fischer D225 when suddenly up pops a woman from the watery depths: "Who do you think you are! Killing my kids !" and drags the fisherman underwater.  Horror !  In comparison,  Grablied D218 is just a song about a burial mound. As one is apt to sing.  Even then two seemingly dreamy Abends unter der Linde D235 and D237 are sinister. As the poet sits beneath the linden tree he feels ghostly presences. "Ich fühle eures Atems Kuß, O Julie, o Emilius!"

You wouldn't want to be a Fisherman's Friend. In Fischerlied D351 and D5362, we learn how tough a fisherman's life can be. Of course, it ends in death.  Of course, one can escape through alcohol. Thus Lob des Tokayers D248 and Punschlied: im Norden zu singen D253 in praise of drink! On the other hand, though, fishing is honest labour.  In Fischerweise D881, we're reminded that "Doch wer ein Netz will stellen, Braucht Augen klar und gut, Muß heiter gleich den Wellen Und frei sein wie die Flut."  If you want to catch fish, you have to be clear headed and quick. Fishing is skill, not crafty ruse, like the shepherdess standing on the bridge, heartlessly flirting.

I booked this recital months ago on the strengths of the performers - Stuart Jackson is a great favourite. So Goth or not, this promises to be a stimulating experience.

No comments: