I had another song from another composer planned for this week, but I left the article half-written and I will finish it some other day. It's Wolf's fault; he has been the star of Lied during the last days. You know, Jonas Kaufmann, Diana Damrau and Helmut Deutsch have been performing his Italienisches Liederbuch and their tour finished in Barcelona last Saturday. If my head is full of Wolf's music I can hardly concentrate on another composer so today, with this excuse, we're listening one more song from this collection that I love so much.
I tried to remembered how many serenades we heard so far on Liederabend; at least, two: one from Schubert and one from Strauss. Maybe there are some more, but these two are clearly identified by their title, Ständchen. You already know what's a serenade: a man singing at night below his beloved's window hoping she will thank him and agree for a later encounter. Maybe she will open the window to show that she is listening or, lucky him!, she will come down to meet him.
Normally lovers are really inspired and composers even more; I can hardly believe that the woman won't open the balcony to drop a scented note that says "DA CAPO". Wolf isn't any exception and there are some wonderful serenades in his Italienisches Liederbuch; however, he's an exception when he gives the serenaded women a voice (at least I don't remember any other composer who has done so); It's what I called "counterserenade", please let me know if you have a better word to define it. Thanks to Wolf, we find out that women don't always become entranced; today we're listening to a woman who's really upset with the man. She tells us that he sings badly, but I'm not sure we should believe her, given her background. Do you remember how captivated she used to listen to her violinist? We also listened to him and either she doesn't have a good ear or love is deaf as well as blind, because the poor thing is a hopeless violinist. Maybe she's so angry because she doesn't like him... He exasperates him so much that she even says she'd rather be serenaded by a donkey! Pay attention to the piano, you will listen to it brying.
Let the couple solve their problems; we better listen to the song. It's the no. 43 from the collection, Schweig einmal still, dub garts'ger Schwätzer dort!; this is the original Italian poem, translated into German by Paul Heyse:
I tuoi rispetti m'hanno stomacato.
Se tu durassi fino a domattina,
Non canteresti un rispetto garbato.
Stattene zitta, e vattene alla paglia:
Canta meglio di te un asin che raglia.
The song will be performed by Mojca Erdmann and Gerold Huber. Both the song and the post are short, so maybe you would feel like listening to some other songs of the Italian Liederbuch. For example, the wonderful previous two and the following one, sung by the young man the three of them. Certainly, this girl is stone-hearted!
Zum Ekel ist mir dein verwünschtes Singen.
Und triebst du es bis morgen früh so fort,
Doch würde dir kein schmuckes Lied gelingen.
Schweig einmal still und lege dich aufs Ohr!
Das Ständchen eines Esels zög ich vor.
Your cursed singing makes me sick.
And if you carried on so until tomorrow morning,
You would still not manage a decent song.
Be silent for once, and lay yourself on the ear!
I would prefer the serenade of a donkey!
(translation by Donna Breitzer)