A letter home - Light Reflection
My trip here is going really well and I have met some interesting people, particularly the young girl with the blue ear. I'm becoming accustomed to the many hair colours they appear to favour, but ear colouring was a surprise. I am also confused at the obsession they appear to have with underpants, whether wearing, not wearing, or stealing. They do appear a very strange bunch, and have no trouble telling young ladies they have lovely buttocks.
It is altogether a rather confusing place. For days I was convinced that the landlords daughter was a witch since she appeared to be cursed all the time. Apparently I was wrong, and she was right. In further confusion, I am convinced that they are all mad as apparently they see coos all over the place. I only ever see dogs! My brother will be pleased to know that his name is very popular here since there appear to be Euan's all over the countryside.
Despite the constant references to big mac, or mac big, as they say here, I still have to find one single MacDonald's
Your Loving Son
Oh, Ständchen! Thank you! One of my (and my mother's) all-time favourites. The way the sort of minor-ish ascending arpeggio becomes a shining major on the way down always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. And sung by Wunderlich, one of the best tenors of all time. Such a sad loss.
We could trade these clips all day and completely hijack Fergus's thread!
If we move out from Schubert, "Morgen" (Richard Strauss) is one of my all-time favourites. I once said to my mother (who was a professional singer), it's so simple, but I could never sing that. She said, "You have to be an artist."
"Du bist die Ruh'" is much the same in that respect. Fischer-Dieskau does sing it so beautifully.
I can think of one, and it would surprise me if there aren't others. He did a setting of Robert Burns' "O wert thou in the cauld blast". Here sung by Jean Redpath duetting with herself, in a less than classical mode, but it's lovely, I think - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEFVY-69EJk. Here, in German!!, definitely classical, Barbara Bonney and Angelika Kirschlager - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oWPh5vPp0g
Oh yes. His Ave Maria is actually a setting from Scott's "The Lady of the Lake". But my favourite is a song he called "Volkslied", which is a soprano-alto duet. "O, säh ich auf der Heide dort. Im Sturme dich, im Sturme dich! Mit meinem Mantel vor dem Sturm. Beschützt' ich dich, beschützt'ich dich."
You getting it yet? It's actually a poem by a German romantic poet called Ferdinand Freiligrath - which is a very faithful translation of Burns's last-composed song, "O wert thou in the cauld blast".
It's so faithful that you can simply put the Burns words under Mendelssohn's melody and they fit and sing (almost) perfectly. The only little detail is on the word "cauld", which needs a snap on it, whereas "Heide" does not. It was noticing that which made me realise the Scots words weren't the original because Mendelssohn knew Scottish musical idiom and he'd have done it with the snap if he'd been setting the Scots text.
Here is a performance in the original German. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lmnYICU-Rs But I always think of the Burns words as the original. A few years ago I and a friend sang the duet to the Burns text at a Burns supper. Oh, here is a version with the Scots words. Annoyingly, they don't put the snap in. A real Scots folk singer (and the tune has entered folk music as the preferred tune to that poem) will put the snap in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJiphNa8zmE