Schubert "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" Elly Ameling (Part II )




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Published on Aug 18, 2007

Franz Peter Schubert
Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965 (Part II)
Text after Wilhelm Müller's poem "The mountain shepherd"
Translation: Lionel Salter

This lied is one of my all time favorites of Schubert. I think, if I was a performing soprano singer, I would sing this one in every recital, until people started telling me "we are sick to death of that tune!" I just love Schubert's lieder and this is one of them that made me fall in love with his genius.

(from: wikipedia - in part)

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (English: The Shepherd on the Rock), D. 965 is a famous lied for soprano, clarinet, and piano by Franz Schubert. It was composed in 1828 during the final months of his life. Of the six verses, the first four came from the poetry of Wilhelm Müller, while the last two were written by Wilhelmina Christiane von Chézy.


The lied is multi-sectional with the clarinet and voice (soprano) equally challenged, it fits as a work of chamber music as it does as lied. The first section is warm as the lonely shepherd, high on the mountain top, listens to the echoes rising from below. The second section becomes quite dark as the shepherd expresses his all encompassing grief and loneliness. The third and last section is a sign of hope as the shepherd anticipates the coming of Spring and with it rebirth.

Singers who have made recordings of this work are: Arleen Augér, Elly Ameling, Isobel Baillie, Kathleen Battle, Erna Berger, Barbara Bonney, Helena Dearing , Gabriele Fontana, Ria Ginster, Edita Gruberová, Barbara Hendricks, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Ann Mackay, Edith Mathis, Akiko Nakajima, Dame Margaret Price, Elizabeth Ritchie, Lynda Russell, Lotte Schöne, Elisabeth Schumann, Rita Streich and Benita Valente.

(from: http://web.mit.edu/king-lab/www/peopl... )

It is believed that Franz Schubert's Shepherd on the Rock, D965 (Der Hirt auf dem Felsen) was the last song he composed. Ralf Wehner writes, "that for all his mastery of the lied, Schubert had great difficulty finding public recognition in his lifetime. Among the few highlights of his career was a concert at the Vienna Musikverein in March 1828. Several Lieder and chamber works were performed which were all received with tumultuous applause. Seeing this as a favorable sign, Schubert threw himself into his work once again, writing keyboard sonatas, a string quartet and the E-flat major Mass. He wrote several lieder including the Shepherd on the Rock. This song stands apart from most of Schubert's other lieder for solo voice not only because it is scored for a second instrument but also because of its multi-sectional, cantata-like character. Originally scored for clarinet, piano and solo voice, Shepherd on the Rock, is believed to have been written for the operatic soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann, who had asked Schubert to compose a brilliant concert aria for her, specifying a piece which would allow her to express a wide range of feelings and would be suitable for a 'large audience.' As a result, the work is more like an operatic aria than Schubert's other lieder. The vocal line, solo instrument and piano are closely interwoven, thus creating an organic texture which does equal justice to the piece's claims to be treated both as a chamber work and as a concertante aria."

German Text:

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,
ins tiefe Thal herneider seh,
und singe, und singe,
fern aus dem tiefen, dunkeln Thal
schwingt sich empor der Wiederhall,
der Wiederhall der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt,
von unten, von unten.
Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
drum sehn ich mich so heiß nach ihr
hinüber, hinüber.

In tiefem Gram verzehr' ich mich,
mir ist die Freude hin,
auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
ich hier so einsam bin,
ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
so sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
mit wunderbarer Macht.

Der Frühling will kommen,
der Frühling meine Freud,
nun mach ich mich fertig zum Wandern bereit.


When on the highest cliff I stand,
gaze down into the deep valley
and sing,
the echo from the ravines
floats upwards from the dark valley
far away.

The further my voice travels,
the clearer it returns to me
from below.
So far from me does my love dwell
that I yearn for her more ardently
over there.

With deep grief I am consumed,
my joy is at an end;
all hope on earth has left me;
I am so lonely here,
I am so lonely here.

So longingly sounded the song in the wood,
so longingly it sounded through the night,
drawing hearts heavenwards
with wondrous power.

Spring is coming,
Spring, my joy;
now I will make ready to go journeying.


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