Friday, 2 March 2018

Heinrich Heine dumps date by text

Au port de Venasque, Septembre 1899, Bagnères-de-Luchon, Haute-Garonne
Über die Berge steigt schon die Sonne, 
Die Lämmerheerde läutet von fern: 
Mein Liebchen, mein Lamm, meine Sonne und Wonne,
Noch einmal säh' ich dich gar zu gern! 
 Ich schaue hinauf mit spähender Miene, 
"Leb' wohl, mein Kind, ich wandre von hier!"
 Vergebens! es regt sich keine Gardine; 
Sie liegt noch und schläft und träumt von mir. 
Heinrich Heine
(Over the mountain peaks, the sun is rising. Lambs can be heard, frolicking in the distance.  My little love, my lamb, my sun, my fun.  How I'd like to see you again ! I look upwards with searching gaze. "Farewell, my child, I'm moving on !".  Forget it !  Her curtain doesn't even twitch. She's still lying in bed, and sleeping, and dreaming of me. )

A cheerful farewell  ! The lover wants to explore the world, the loved one to stay in bed.  He thinks she's a lamb, a child, someone not too bright.  Maybe he wants to see her one more time, but he's off and away.  Maybe they're better off apart.   The poem is no 83 in Heinrich Heine's Buch der Lieder Heimkehr, from 1823-4.  Felix Mendelssoh set it as Morgengruß in his 6 Gesänge, Op.47 (1839).  His sister Fanny set it too, but nothing beats Felix's understated setting.   The gentle rocking rhythm suggests the lambs, innocently dancing in the sunshine.  The  lover sings "Ich schaue hinauf" and  the line stretches, leaping into space.  He can't bring himself to ditch the girl, so off he goes, singing sweetly, as if nothing's wrong.  The lambs might end up as dinner but, like the girl, they don't have a clue.  Christoph Prégardien recorded this with Andreas Staier on fortepiano, nearly 20years ago. Harmonia Mundi has reissued a 4 CD box set of their Schubert songs. This song, though, is part of Prégardiuen and Staier's Heine song set.  With their Schiller and Goethe song sets, these are esesential listening! A few years ago, someone ran out of a fortepiano song recital in a rage. What a fool !  Fortepiano reflects the true, pristine purity of Lieder so beautiufully that it's a pity that there aren't more fortepiano/tenor combinations around.

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