Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Daniel Behle Sings Schubert

Schubert: Der Hirt Am Felsen

Daniel Behle –Tenor
Andy Miles – Clarinet
Oliver Schnyder – Piano

If player does not work, 
click here to listen.

Graham Johnson calls this a "trouser cantata," as it was written originally for soprano, but it seems pretty clear that the narrator is male.  Prima Donna Anna Milder requested a showpiece from Schubert, and Mr. Johnson tells us that Schubert:
…conceived the idea of writing (almost certainly for her) something more operatic, something with a suggestion of a plot and a little larger than life. The result was a cantata with a carefully chosen selection and combination of texts by Wilhelm Müller (the poet of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise) and a middle movement with words by (in all probability) Helmina von Chézy. Einstein calls this concoction a scena in concertante style, and this of course refers to the crucial role of the clarinet as an obbligato instrument. As is often the case with Schubert, ideas for his songs came from the opera house. 
Anyway, this is the first time I have heard it sung by a tenor, and it makes total sense. In this performance from the 2012 Schwetzinger Festspiele, Daniel Behle fully conveys Mr. Graham's image of "the shepherd who would rush across the valley" as soon as winter was over. I found a link to the full score. And here is the text:

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh',
In's tiefe Tal hernieder seh',
Und singe.

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal
Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall
Der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wieder klingt
Von unten.

Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
Drum sehn' ich mich so heiß nach ihr

In tiefem Gram verzehr ich mich,
Mir ist die Freude hin,
Auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
Ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
So sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
Die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
Mit wunderbarer Macht.

Der Frühling will kommen,
Der Frühling, meine Freud',
Nun mach' ich mich fertig
Zum Wandern bereit
When, from the highest rock up here,
Down to the valley deep I peer,
And sing,

Far from the valley dark and deep
Echoes rush through, in upward sweep,
The chasm.

The farther that my voice resounds,
So much the brighter it rebounds
From under.

My sweetheart dwells so far from me,
I hotly long with her to be
O'er yonder.

I am consumed in misery,
I have no use for cheer,
Hope has on earth eluded me,
I am so lonesome here.

So longingly did sound the song,
So longingly through wood and night,
Towards heav'n it draws all hearts along
With unsuspected might.

The Springtime is coming,
The Springtime, my cheer,
Now must I make ready
On wanderings to fare.

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