Frau auf dem Söller - Karl Gustav Carus
Woman on the balcony - K. G. Carus

In 1803, a play called Lacrimas was published in Berlin. The plot was complex and implausible as the plots of Shakespearean comedies, disseminated at that time in Germany thanks to the translations of August Wilhelm Schlegel. There were misunderstandings, impossible love between Muslims and Christians, and sudden plot twists that changed the parents or religion of some characters, so that love stories had a happy ending and peace and fraternity reigned between them. The publisher of this work was precisely Schlegel, thus appearing on the cover, and his was also the introductory poem. In that first edition, however, the author's name didn't appear anywhere; it wasn't known until the second edition. The piece must have been a success, because the author, Christoph Wilhelm Schütz (a poet, essayist and translator, linked to Schlegel, Tieck and their circle) was known as "Lacrimas Schütz", but eventually the work fell into oblivion. And you will never say who chose Schütz as the subject of his doctoral thesis, defended in 1922: Joseph Goebbels. Yes, that infamous Goebbels. So let's go back to the 19th century.

Franz Schubert spent the summer of 1825 in Linz and Steyr, and he must have found a copy of Lacrimas at the home of some of his friends. Schlegel didn't pretend it was his book, and his introductory sonnet was a praising of the unknown author, but his name was there, in large lettering, and Schubert probably assumed he has written it: he composed the two lieder with texts by Lacrimas immediately after others with poem by Schlegel. The confusion wasn't unusual; the two Lieder were published in 1829 as Zwei Szenen aus dem Schauspiel "Lacrimas" von A. W. Schlegel, a mistake by the publisher this time.

Of these two songs, D. 857, we're listening to the second one, Lied des Florio (which, in the work, is the first one). Florio has travelled from Malaga to a remote sultanate following the woman he loves; Delphine is taken to the Sultan's residence and Florio works there as a gardener, just to be close to her and see her from afar from time to time. One night, Florio is in the garden and sees Delphine on the terrace, and sings these verses that Schubert set to music. As the song begins, we think of a serenade, and the piano accompaniment reminds us of the strings mentioned in the first stanza. But serenades ask the loved one for an encounter, and Florio knows this is not possible; maybe because of this, the music changes and the two central stanzas turn into a lament; the young man remembers how he fell in love with Delphine when he heard her singing; that love became a poison that will end his life. The last stanza resumes the melody of the first one, but now the serenade addresses to night, inviting it to give him some rest.

Lied des Florio is one among many, many of Schubert's Lieder hardly played; shame, because it's an elegant and delicate song. It fits into the "miniature" category, that meaning that we should listen to it "closely" and, if this is your first time, better twice. It's also a difficult song to sing; the night and the introspection suggest mezza voce, although the tessitura is high, that demanding a precise control. I chose to share with you the beautiful rendition of the great Nicolai Gedda; it's a live recording from 1964, and he's accompanied by Hermann Reutter. I hope you like it.


Lied des Florio

Nun, da Schatten niedergleiten,
Und die Lüfte zärtlich wehen,
Dringet Seufzen aus der Seele,
Und umgirrt die treuen Saiten.

Klaget, dass ihr mit mir sterbet
Bittern Tod, wenn die nicht heilet,
Die den Becher mir gereichet,
Voller Gift, dass ich und ihr verderbet.

Erst mit Tönen, sanft wie Flöten,
Goss sie Schmerz in meine Adern;
Sehen wollte sie der Kranke,
Und nun wird ihr Reiz ihn töten.

Nacht, komm her, mich zu umwinden
Mit dem farbenlosen Dunkel!
Ruhe will ich bei dir suchen,
Die mir Not tut bald zu finden.

 Please follow this link if you need an English translation


Articles relacionats

Comments powered by CComment

Liederabend website uses technical cookies, essential for the operation of the site, and analytics cookies that you can disable.