Hexensabbath - Stratmann
Witches' Sabbath - S. Stratmann
This week, I'm talking about two more recitals at the Schubertiade Vilabertran. To begin with, the second one given by Juliane Banse and Wolfram Rieger, and the baritone Adrian Eröd who will also join them; it will take place on August 20th. The first part will focus on duets by Schumann and Mendelssohn and will also include some songs for one voice from both composers. In the second part, we will be listening to a selection of the Italianisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf, a work usually sung by a man and a woman (a baritone and a soprano, in our case). I realised I haven’t talked about those songs yet, so I've just jot down it in my notebook; we'll spend some time with them at our new season.

These are the three lieder included in this recital that we’ve listened so far, the three of them by Schumann:
  • We’ve listened to Widmung twice. The first was in my post about 1840, the Schumann's Liederjahr, and was performed by soprano Marie Vassiliou and pianist Nico de Villiers. The second one was in a post on a few clichés and common places about art song. In that post, it was performed by Hermann Prey and Leonard Hokanson.
  • Frühlingslied is, as the name suggests, a celebration of spring. It's one of the duos from the Liederalbum für die Jugend, that, as we discussed some time ago, is full of songs about spring. We listened to a beautiful version of this Lied: Felicity Lott and Anne Murray accompanied by Graham Johnson.
  • Meine Rose is one of the most beautiful Schumann's songs, written as Frühlingslied during his second period as lieder composer (they are from 1849 and 1850 respectively). The version I chose to share with you, was the one by Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber.
The third song recital, on August 25th, will be the debut of young tenor Mauro Peter, at the Schubertiade Vilabertran. Helmut Deutsch, also one of the great pianists we often enjoy at the festival, will accompany him. They will perform the work with which Peter made his successful debut four years ago at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Die schöne Müllerin. From this song cycle, we've heard so far three songs:
  • Das Wandern, sung by Fritz Wunderlich in two versions: at the beginning of his career and a few years later. In the first case, he was accompanied by Karl-Heinz Stolze, and the second one, by Hubert Giesen. In that post, I told you about the origins of the cycle.
  • Morgengruß, the n. 8, with Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis. In this case, I explained to you several things about the poems from Die schöne Müllerin.
  • Finally, we listened to Wohin?, the n. 2, on the post about the programme of the SV16. The performers were the same we're listening in Vilabertran, it was a live recording made at Wigmore Hall in 2014.
To illustrate this post, I chose a song which probably is the most famous by Felix Mendelssohn, Hexenlied (Song of the witches). Even though the calendar marks March 20th as the beginning of spring, in many places in Europe, the weather sets the beginning in May and its arrival is celebrated on 30 April, it's Walpurgis Night. That day, witches make a big meeting, and that's what the song explains, a really brilliant imaginative song. As last week, the poem is by Hölty and, as last week also, it was amended by Voss.

We're listening to Hexenlied in an unusual version. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau used to avoid songs clearly related to female voices, and he didn't like those experiments that some gentlemen did with songs for ladies. However, he recorded Hexenlied and I tell you that, if ever I'm a witch, I want to be as aristocratic as those that Fischer-Dieskau sings. Wolfgang Sawallisch accompanies him.

Die Schwalbe fliegt,
Der Frühling siegt
Und spendet uns Blumen zum Kranze;
Bald huschen wir
Leis’ aus der Tür
Und fliegen zum prächtigen Tanze.

Ein schwarzer Bock,
Ein Besenstock,
Die Ofengabel, der Wocken
Reißt uns geschwind,
Wie Blitz und Wind,
Durch sausende Lüfte zum Brocken!

Um Beelzebub
Tanz unser Trupp
Und küßt ihm die kralligen Hände!
Ein Geisterschwarm
Faßt uns beim Arm
Und swchinget im Tanzen die Brände!

Und Beelzebub
Verheißt dem Trupp
Der Tanzenden Gaben auf Gaben:
Sie sollen schön
In Seide geh’n
Und Töpfe voll Goldes sich graben.

Ein Feuerdrach’
Umflileget das Dach
Und bringet uns Butter und Eier.
Die Nachbarn dann seh’n
Die Funken weh’n,
Und schlagen ein Kreuz vor dem Feuer.

Die Schwalbe  fliegt,
Der Frühling siegt,
Die Blumen erblühen zum Kranze.
Bald huschen wir
Leis’ aus der Tur
Juchheissa zum prächtigen Tanze.

Please follow this link if you need an English translation.

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