Waiting in vain - Banksy

Friedrich Rochlitz was a lucky gentleman that didn't need to work to earn a living, so he worked a lot for pleasure, sharing his time between music and literature. With respect to music, he composed some works, he was the librettist of some others and in 1798 he founded in Leipzig the weekly Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. Regarding literature, his output was so extensive that when he decided to publish his best works, in 1822, he needed six volumes. His curriculum vitae was quite impressive, but today Rochlitz is mostly known as the author of the poems of two lieder by Schubert: Alinde and An die Laute, both composed in January 1827.

We find Alinde, the poem, in the fourth volume of Rochlitz' anthology, the revised version of the original poem he had published in 1805. The poem tells us about a man impatiently waiting for a woman. The structure of the poem is very regular and there are repeated verses; all in all, it reminds us of popular poetry. The first verse of each stanza marks the time, the poem begins when the sun sets; The second one expresses the doubt: "she told me she would come"; at the third one, the man meets someone (a reaper, a fisherman, a hunter) and, being so an anxious (this is the fourth verse, "Mir ist's bekommen"), he asks him about his beloved Alinde, these are the fifth and sixth verses. The last three verses of the stanza are the answer of that person, too busy with his own business to pay attention to a girl.

In the fourth stanza, at night, there's nobody to ask and the man asks the echo, who can only repeat the name of the beloved. And then he realises she's there, beside him. In the first verse, he asked a reaper, we can deduce it's summer and Alinde is really late. Is she unpunctual? Was she insecure about the meeting? Couldn't she leave earlier her home? Was she there, hidden, playing about him? Whatever the case, we have for once a happy end.

The structure of the poem and its atmosphere make us think of a strophic lied. However, we don't expect such calm music to illustrate the man's anxiety. Schubert gives the song rhythm of barcarole. Unlike other lieder as Auf dem Wasser zu singen or Des Fischers Liebesglück, there's no reference to the poem that justifies it, beyond a mention of a lake or a fisherman. So, why does he choose this rhythm? I don't have an answer, but the effect is great: the calmness of music deactivates the impatience of the man and allows us to follow the story with a smile on our lips.

Alinde was published in May 1827 and the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung published a review in the January 23rd, 1828 issue. It highlights the quality of the poem (remember that the author was the founder of the magazine) and how the music emphasizes the dialogues, something difficult given the strophic form; The small variations underline the different characters. The anonymous reviewer defines the song as "scherzhaft-ernst", which could be translated as "'half-joking, all in earnest", and I fully agree.

This lied is usually sung by baritones, and I had thought of some names to illustrate the post, but I finally chose a tenor; I didn't want to pass by the gorgeous version of Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, accompanied by Graham Johnson. We'll have the opportunity of listening to a baritone in Barcelona in a few days; Alinde is one of the Lieder that Ludwig Mittelhammer and Jonathan Ware will perform on Thursday 28 to close the second season of the series Schubert Lied.

As usual, I add here the programmed Lieder we heard so far. I hope that we meet at L'Auditori or, at least, that you enjoy listening to those songs again.


Die Sonne sinkt ins tiefe Meer,
Da wollte sie kommen.
Geruhig trabt der Schnitter einher,
Mir ist’s beklommen.
„Hast, Schnitter, mein Liebchen nicht gesehn?
Alinde, Alinde!“
„Zu Weib und Kindern muss ich gehn,
Kann nicht nach andern Dirnen sehn;
Sie warten mein unter der Linde.“

Der Mond betritt die Himmelsbahn,
Noch will sie nicht kommen.
Dort legt der Fischer das Fahrzeug an,
Mir ist’s beklommen.
„Hast, Fischer, mein Liebchen nicht gesehn?
Alinde, Alinde!“
„Muss suchen, wie mir die Reusen stehn,
Hab nimmer Zeit nach Jungfern zu gehn,
Schau, welch einen Fang ich finde.“

Die lichten Sterne ziehn herauf,
Noch will sie nicht kommen.
Dort eilt der Jäger in rüstigem Lauf,
Mir ist’s beklommen.
„Hast, Jäger, mein Liebchen nicht gesehn?
Alinde, Alinde!“
„Muss nach dem bräunlichen Rehbock gehn,
Hab nimmer Lust nach Mädeln zu sehn;
Dort schleicht er im Abendwinde.“

In schwarzer Nacht steht hier der Hain,
Noch will sie nicht kommen.
Von allen Lebendgen irr ich allein,
Bang und beklommen.
„Dir, Echo, darf ich mein Leid gestehn:
Alinde, Alinde!“
„Alinde,“ liess Echo leise herüberwehn;
Da sah ich sie mir zur Seite stehn:
„Du suchtest so treu, nun finde!“

If you need an English translation please visit this link

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