Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Haunted Lake - Die Geister von Mummelsee

Am Fuße der Hornisgrinde liegt der sagenumwobene, verwunschene Mummelsee. Diesen mythischen Ort sollen die Römer schon "locus mirabilis" genannt haben. Gemälde von Jakob Götzenberger im Wandelgang der Trinkhalle Baden-Baden, fertiggestellt 1844
© L. Hanisch
 Not quite Halloween, but spooky. A poem by Eduard Mörike, Die Geister von Mummelsee, set by Hugo Wolf.  Mummelsee is a deep lake in a remote forest surrounded by mountains in the Schwarzwalde in Swabia, Mörike's homeland.  Perfect Romantic Landscape ! Mörike made a living as a low level pastor, but was fascinated by "nature magic", legend and mysteries.  Please read the full text of the poem HERE. 

At midnight, from the darkness lights appear - torches in procession, strange, eerie songs.  Who are these spirits, carrying the Sarge die glänzende Frau! (the coffin of a shimmering woman), chanting strange songs. The dark reflecting lakes open for them like a living staircase to the depths, (ein lebende Treppen hervor) .The waters don't touch them. the spirits are mourning their king, a sorcerer. But wait ! They've spotted the person watching them ! In Hugo Wolf's setting, the piano part marches ominously, evoking the solemn processsion. With each strophe, more detail, shapes shifting and changing, like the spirits. Die Wasser, wie lieblich sie brennen und glühn! Sie spielen in grünendem Feuer.  Sparkling figures, magic, the alarm as the spooks grab the man and drag him preciptatively down to his death.  The recording below comes from the set of pre war broadcasts from German radio, with Herbert Janssen.

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