Franz Schubert - Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, D. 714





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Published on Feb 19, 2009

Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Concentus Musicus Vienna / Arnold Schönberg Choir
Recorded in the course of the styriarte 1997, June 21st & 22nd

Terrific performance of this underknown gem, in my opinion the best Goethe setting by Schubert - scorded for male voices (TTBB) and deep strings - viola, cello and bass only. Here's a translation of the poem, the painting is Caspar David Friedrich's "Flussufer im Nebel".

"The soul of man
Is like the water:
It comes from heaven,
It returns to heaven,
And down again
To earth must go,
Ever changing.

When from the high,
Sheer wall of rock
The pure stream gushes,
It sprays its lovely vapor
In billowing clouds
Towards the smooth rock,
And lightly received,
It goes enshrouded,
Softly hissing
Down to the deep.

Cliffs tower,
Opposing its fall.
Annoyed, it foams
Step by step
Into the abyss.

In a flat bed
It slinks down the grassy vale,
And in the waveless lake
All the stars
Feast on their likeness.

Wind is the wave's
Handsome suitor;
Wind stirs up from the depths
Foaming billows.

Soul of man,
How like to the water!
Fate of man,
How like to the wind!"

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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