During the second week of the Schubertíada, we're listening to the three Schubert's great cycles performed by three different singers who, in addition, have also three different voices: baritone Andrè Schuen will sing Schwanengesang, tenor Christoph Prégardien Die schöne Müllerin and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, Winterreise. We've listened so far to some songs from the three cycles, so if you want to go over them, that's a lot of (wonderful) work!
Andrè Schuen and Daniel Heide made their debut at the Schubertíada last year with Die schöne Müllerin and they are back this year with Schwanengesang. Their programme also includes five more Lieder: one with a poem of Ludwig Rellstab, the poet of the first part of the cycle and four with poem of Johann Gabriel Seidl, the poet of Die Taubenpost, the Lied we're listening today:
- n. 1 Liebesbotschaft
- n. 4 Ständchen
- n. 5 Aufenthalt
- n. 7 Abschied
- n. 11 Die Stadt
- n. 13 Der Doppelgänger
- Bei dir allein
- Am Fenster
Christoph Prégardien sang a few years ago Die schöne Müllerin in Vilabertran; If you were there and have a good memory, this year will have the chance to appreciate similarities and differences (both in interpretation and reception, because you were also a few years younger...). We listen to a quarter of the songs of this cycle, which are:
Finally, Winterreise, sung by a woman; I would say DiDonato's focus is quite unusual and interesting. I hope you have your tickets, because the concert is sold out. Anyway, it's always time to listen to some of these songs:
- n. 1 Gute Nacht
- n. 2 Die Wetterfahne
- n. 4 Erstarrung
- n. 5 Der Lindenbaum
- n. 7 Auf dem Flusse
- n. 10 Rast
- n. 15 Die Krähe
- n. 19 Täuschung
- n. 23 Die Nebensonnen
- n. 24 Der Leiermann
And now, time to talk about Die Taubenpost, a Cinderella of Schubert's Lieder. Schwanengesang could have been published with thirteen songs (seven with poems by Ludwig Rellstab and six with poems by Heinrich Heine), but Schubert's editor added one more, Die Taubenpost; it's said that he did it because thirteen was an unlucky number.
I don't know how the song would have been appreciated if it has been published alone, or if at least it had been placed just after the Rellstab's songs (it fits them better from a musical point of view), but the fact is that Tobias Haslinger put it after Der Doppelgänger, a breathtaking song. For many people, Die Taubenpost is an anticlimax, the same that the sextet of Don Giovanni. In my opinion, the sextet exists because the opera conceptually needs it, and when they cut it, the spirit of Classicism is betrayed (if you allow me the hyperbole); I also think that Die Taubenpost is a different case for many reasons but, who knows, there is a remote possibility that Haslinger acted according to that spirit of the Classicism (that, in fact, was quite old-fashioned in 1828) and wanted to restore the balance with Die Taubenpost. I know, it's a peculiar theory...
The tradition still considers Die Taubenpost part of Schwanengesang, but it no longer belongs to the cycle and it has its own catalogue number, D. 965A; That's the perfect alibi for singers not singing it or singing it as an encore. Andrè Schuen will sing Die Taubenpost after Der Doppelgänger, and he could easily have grouped it with the rest of Seidl's songs; I must admit that his decision intrigues me. Anyway, I suggest that you listen to Die Taubenpost, now or at the recital, with new ears, because it's a lovely song. Our performers are Wolfgang Holzmair (under whom Schuen studied song and oratorio) and Charles Spencer.
Ich hab’ eine Brieftaub in meinem Sold,
Die ist gar ergeben und treu,
Sie nimmt mir nie das Ziel zu kurz,
Und fliegt auch nie vorbei.
Ich sende sie vieltausendmal
Auf Kundschaft täglich hinaus,
Vorbei an manchem lieben Ort,
Bis zu der Liebsten Haus.
Dort schaut sie zum Fenster heimlich hinein,
Belauscht ihren Blick und Schritt,
Gibt meine Grüsse scherzend ab
Und nimmt die ihren mit.
Kein Briefchen brauch’ ich zu schreiben mehr,
Die Träne selbst geb’ ich ihr:
O sie verträgt sie sicher nicht,
Gar eifrig dient sie mir.
Bei Tag, bei Nacht, im Wachen, im Traum,
Ihr gilt das alles gleich:
Wenn sie nur wandern, wandern kann,
Dann ist sie überreich!
Sie wird nicht müd’, sie wird nicht matt,
Der Weg ist stets ihr neu;
Sie braucht nicht Lockung, braucht nicht Lohn,
Die Taub’ ist so mir treu!
Drum heg’ ich sie auch so treu an der Brust,
Versichert des schönsten Gewinns;
Sie heisst – die Sehnsucht! Kennt ihr sie?
Die Botin treuen Sinns.
In my pay I have a carrier-pigeon
Who is utterly loyal and true.
She never stops too short of her goal,
Nor ever flies too far.
A thousand times I send her out
To gather everyday information,
Past many of my favorite places
To my beloved's house.
There she peeps in secretly at the window,
Eavesdropping on every look and step;
Banteringly she conveys my greetings
And brings my beloved's back to me.
I don't even need to write a note any longer;
Tears alone I give her.
Oh, she hardly tolerates those,
So fervently does she serve me.
By day, by night, awake or in a dream,
It is all the same to her:
Only when she is in flight, and can be in flight,
Then she is happy!
She never grows tired, she never feels dull,
The way always feels new to her;
She needs no enticement, needs no reward,
So true to me is this pigeon!
And so I cherish her so truly in my heart,
Assured of the fairest prize;
Her name is -- Longing! Do you know her? --
The messenger of a devoted heart.
(translation by Emily Ezust)