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Published on Jun 20, 2009
In answer to a request...
Schubert wrote no fewer than five versions of this song, and also based his Trout Quintet, D667 on it. It's a charming mini-drama, reflecting the naturalist theme of the Romantic period and Schubert's own sense of playfulness.
In the text, the narrator describes looking at a trout in the water, and his indignation when a fisherman catches it by unfair means. The famous six-note phrase that forms the majority of the accompaniment evokes the image of a fish literally rising to the bait. The vocal melody is equally light, until the moment when the fisherman muddies up the water to catch the fish, when both voice and piano change to a darker tone, creating the sense of a little drama enacted. (allmusic.com)
In einem Bächlein helle, Da schoß in froher Eil Die launische Forelle Vorüber wie ein Pfeil. Ich stand an dem Gestade Und sah in süßer Ruh Des muntern Fischleins Bade Im klaren Bächlein zu.
Ein Fischer mit der Rute Wohl an dem Ufer stand, Und sah's mit kaltem Blute, Wie sich das Fischlein wand. So lang dem Wasser Helle, So dacht ich, nicht gebricht, So fängt er die Forelle Mit seiner Angel nicht.
Doch endlich ward dem Diebe Die Zeit zu lang. Er macht Das Bächlein tückisch trübe, Und eh ich es gedacht, So zuckte seine Rute, Das Fischlein zappelt dran, Und ich mit regem Blute Sah die Betrogene an.
Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791)
In a bright little brook there shot in merry haste a capricious trout: past it shot like an arrow. I stood upon the shore and watched in sweet peace the cheery fish's bath in the clear little brook.
A fisher with his rod stood at the water-side, and watched with cold blood as the fish swam about. So long as the clearness of the water remained intact, I thought, he would not be able to capture the trout with his fishing rod.
But finally the thief grew weary of waiting. He stirred up the brook and made it muddy, and before I realized it, his fishing rod was twitching: the fish was squirming there, and with raging blood I gazed at the betrayed fish.
Translation: Emily Ezust
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Gerald Moore (piano)