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Hermann Prey: Louis Spohr ZIGEUNERLIED op.25 Nr. 5

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Published on Mar 19, 2013

Hermann Prey sings Louis Spohr: ZIGEUNERLIED op.25 Nr. 5. With Michael Krist, piano.
The first complete Edition of Louis Spohr's Lieder in 12 vols. are edited by Prof. Susan Owen-Leinert and Michael Leinert at the Publiher Dohr, Cologne. See: www.dohr.de/autor/spohr.htm
www.owen-leinert.com/Spohr_Society.htm
Louis Spohr (1784-1859) composed his first song book in 1809 after the poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The "Zigeunerlied" can be found in its original form in the "Geschichte Gottfriedens von Berlichingen mit der eisernen Hand, dramatisirt", as Goethe's "Götz von Berlichingen" was called in the 1771 first edition. In the scene at the beginning of Act 5 (Stage direction: Night. Wild forest) the oldest gypsy at the fire, sings the four strophes, while the other gypsies repeat the refrain. The last line (in this first version "Withe hu!") is sung by a gypsy alone, as an echo. Reminding one of a Verdi opera scene (the witches in Macbeth), this introduction to Act 5 of the "Urgötz" deviates from the poem in some passages, that Goethe revised for the first edition in 1784 and Spohr used as the basis of his composition.
The magic of the Lied is achieved through word choice and an exposed sound painting. There is heard the cry of the owls and the text describes the "schwarze, liebe Katz" of Anne, the witch, running along the fence. Spohr removed the adjective "liebe" due to rhythmic movement, and also perhaps because he didn't find the right tone for this ironic, malicious remark. The howling werewolves and the magic number seven also belong to the nightly rituals, as does the descriptive incantation form "Wille wau, wito hu!"
Gypsies, here called witches, who transform them-selves into revenging werewolves, were certainly in-spired from Shakespeare. This theme provoked socially critical thoughts not exclusively among the contempo-raries of Goethe. The young writer rewrote his piece in 1773, at the recommendation of Herder, and arranged the gypsy scene new, without the song. Goethe allowed his Zigeunerlied to stand alone as a nightmarish magical fairy-tale and included it in his collection of poetry.
Spohr used similar musical motives from his Zigeunerlied later in his opera "Faust" in the "Blocksberg-Szene" of the second act, allowing inspiration from the mysterious atmosphere of the poem, narrating it with impressive sound magic.

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