Track Listing. Auch kleine Dinge. Hugo Wolf. Mir ward gesagt. Gesegnet sei, durch den die Welt entstund. Selig ihr Blinden. Wer rief dich denn. Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag'. Nun lass uns Frieden schliessen. Dass doch gemalt. Wie lange schon. Nein, junger Herr. Hoffartig seid Ihr. Mein Liebster ist so klein. Ihr jungen Leute. Und willst du deinen Liebsten. Heb' auf dein blondes Haupt. Book 2 No Wolf, H: Italienisches Liederbuch.
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Lott is also very active as a recitalist. She is one of the original members of the Songmaker's Almanac, a group created by pianist Graham Johnson to explore all areas of song literature. She and Richard Jackson have been admired for their performances of Wolf 's Italienisches Liederbuch.
She is also well known for her interpretations of the songs of Francis Poulenc and has recorded nearly all of the songs appropriate for female voice. Her recital programs are unusually varied, often contain little-known pieces, and are much anticipated by audiences.
She also appears regularly with major orchestras around the world. Her concert repertoire includes the second and fourth symphonies of Mahler , the oratorios of Bach , Handel , Mendelssohn , and, of course, the Four Last Songs of Strauss. Wir haben es hier mit Musik vor dem Aufgehen des Vorhangs zu tun. Die Stimmung ist engelhaft und ruhig.
Eric Sams rightly calls this a pantomime song. The tears which purportedly moisten the otherwise dry bread are definitely of the crocodile variety. It should be said here, however, that as in all his ironic songs it is the music which makes the jokes rather than the singer. If ever there was serious comic music this is it. These songs do not lend themselves to ham performances; it is enough that the vocal line moves in wailing semitones and that the accompaniment is made up of phrases falling away like wilting little sobs.
The over-the-top musical manners of an earlier age are employed to distance the singer from real tears. Throughout all this Wolf seems fascinated by his part-writing; in the accompaniment he gives the tenor voice the top of the bass clef a linear life of its own.
Sometimes the pianist feels as if he is playing Bach. As soon as the tempo picks up in jaunty quavers the sudden reality and earthiness of the mood in contrast to what has gone before is a miracle; we can almost hear sunlight flood the picture.
But lofty suffering is replaced by exaggerations of another kind. We have a little march of the grotesques, for this is suddenly the Italy of Fellini rather than Heyse — a pantomime indeed. We have a parade of every little gnarled old man in Italy marching past rather creakily with enormous good humour and in hope of selection. The vocal line is teasingly feminine, the piano music cheeky and slightly gruff with bristly staccato semiquavers taking over from the smooth ones in the vocal line; one is reminded of Snow White and the seven dwarfs.
The audience cannot see how young the girl is until she gleefully blurts out that she is fourteen. The joke is on them as well as the singer who might well be three times the age. Et c'est vraiment une pantomime. Tout cela nous rappelle Blanche-Neige et les sept nains. In der Tat eine Pantomime. This is among the best known songs of the Italienisches Liederbuch and it is also one of the least intricate. One has the feeling that stylistically Wolf falls between two stools, for he reverts here to the type of setting in which he excelled in By the style has changed, however, and the composer is no longer writing songs which are pictorial in the way they once were.
That said, the song is tremendous fun and a good display piece for the soprano. Opinion is divided as to whether she is angry or amused. There is an element of cruelty and indiscretion in the telling who said that only men boast about their conquests? This male excursion into traditional female territory Italian men have nothing to do with la cucina was bound to be a failure in any case.
If the song is an allegory for love-making on the other hand, the grievance may well be more genuine. The opening two bars of the introduction consist of a repeated figure quickly moving from piano to forte, and which seems to burst into laughter as it reaches its apogee. Both hands are in the treble clef and this feminine tessitura suggests a bustling gathering of skirts.
Throughout the song the motif of staccato quavers in chords punctuates the proceedings like chortles of appreciative laughter. Each new point is greeted by this tittering which ceases in time to allow the narrator to continue her indictment.
As the story progresses she seems to become enraged at the very cheek of it — how dare he? At the end voice and accompaniment, which have hitherto echoed each other, are in unison as if the girl has the whole female community behind her in outrage. The stone-hard bread brings forth chords in the piano to break your teeth on and the blunt knife perhaps an allegory for another weapon inexpertly wielded prompts four sawing quavers, each with an accent. Walter Legge used to encourage the pianist to use two fingers on each note here in order to make a suitably ugly and abrasive sound.
Wolfs Tempo ist hier — wo er die Pausen zwischen den Gedichtzeilen verringert, um eine gereizte Stimmung besser zu beschreiben — meisterhaft. Once again mention must be made of the ordering of the songbook. No XXV is all about a dinner albeit an abortive one ; it ends with a loaf of bread too hard to eat, and a knife too blunt to cut it.
This is juxtaposed I believe deliberately with Ich liess mir sagen, a song which continues the theme of food and in which loaves of bread also play a somewhat inelegant role. This is one of two or three songs in the set which are truly droll. This may not be exactly what makes us laugh, but the story of the self-dramatizing lovelorn glutton certainly had that effect on him.
We can imagine Wolf playing and singing this music to his friends; these must have been performances which were funnier because more daring than any since. He laughs at such pretence, and not at all genially.
A few poems in this songbook give him the opportunity to indulge this propensity for sarcasm at the expense of those whose emotions are not genuine.
Here the man who claims to be wasting away for love is revealed as a greedy hypocrite. A less attractive side of the composer was his impatience with ugliness and those less favoured. Wolf was trim himself, as lean as his forest namesake and sometimes almost as savage , and there is no reason to suppose that overweight people were not also the butts of his wit. The streets of nineteenth-century Vienna must have given him ample scope for his scorn.
Everything about this music is podgy and lugubrious. The trills in the piano part are of course stomach rumbles, but this music wobbles everywhere like loose flesh.
There is also just the right mood of lachrymose self-pity ruthlessly parodied. The pain which follows is nothing to do with love, rather is it a massive case of indigestion with strangely hammered semiquavers and trills; the guardians of Lieder proprieties might throw up their hands but it would not surprise me if these violent ascending scales were meant to depict the throwing-up of food.
In any case the most Tonina could do under the circumstances is go around the corner for a bottle of Fernet Branca. The final chord, suddenly brutal and loud, seems to be a dismissive kick from the composer as if, once he has laughed his fill, he is ultimately disgusted by the whole picture.
Il se moque de ces faux semblants sans la moindre indulgence. En tout cas il n'y a pas grand chose d'autre que Tonina puisse faire, hormis aller au coin de la rue acheter une bouteille de Fernet Branca. An dieser Musik ist alles dicklich und kummervoll. Es folgt eine kurze explosive Figur aus vier Vierundsechzigsteln. Das Nachspiel baut auf den Klavierphrasen des Anfangs auf. Wolf has lavished much care and love on this masterpiece.
For example, it is one of only three songs in the set where he has taken the trouble to find a new metronome mark for a second section. It has all the strong points of the later style and all the mercurial vividness of the earlier songs.
In actual fact the contradiction of tired limbs and a heart racing with the joy of love is what the song is all about, and the heart wins of course. We can hear the physical fatigue in the drooping chords of the very opening bar, and the vocal line at the beginning is too weary to move more than a step at a time. He is interested more in her reality than dreaming about her, however, and we are back in A flat after a few seconds.
The pianist feels something familiar in these oscillating thirds under the hand in the key of A flat, with a tricky ornament decorating the notion of a lute gently plucked. This sudden flattened seventh vividly suggests close listening, as if people in the streets had stopped in their tracks and inclined their ears in the direction of the music.
We were right about the preening though: he seems to have forgotten the original dedicatee of his music, so delighted is he to be a pop star as far as the village girls are concerned. Like an older man remembering his past adventures, the postlude muses affectionately on the melodies of youth.
The look of the music on the page is dense with notes. There is nowhere anything longer than a semiquaver rest to punctuate and ventilate the accompaniment which is in fact a self-contained piano piece, or more exactly a perfect little string quartet movement in piano short score.
Typical of the late Wolf style, the piece is woven with a feel for the intricacies of counterpoint and the independence of the four parts. For a moment we are sorry for the girl who seems to have been genuinely hurt.
The final taunt goes back to the question of wheels. This has already occasioned trills and pomp with the earlier mention of the state carriage. These noble trills of fantasy turn the corner and change into staccato semiquavers which scuttle up the stave like puny legs running behind the nineteenth-century equivalent of an Alfa Romeo.
Although we suspect that this girl has given the man her heart, and that she still loves him, the final pianistic flourish at the end suggests that, for the moment at least, she has given him the finger. This is one of the songs which was a jewel in the Schwarzkopf repertoire towards the end of her career. In theatre and film, and no less the concert hall, many a fan finds it a thrilling prospect to see their favourite grande dame giving a dressing-down to some unfortunate even if invisible underling.
The ultra-sophistication of this music was ideally suited to the incongruity of the diva playing the village maid. Et par une raillerie finale, elle remet sur le tapis cette question des moyens de transport.
Diese edlen Fantasietriller biegen um die Ecke und verwandeln sich in Stakkatosechzehntel, die das System wie mit kleinen Beinen hinaufhasten. Such is the tone of submission and self-abasement of these words, and because almost nowhere else in this cycle do the women strike this note of humility, there is a temptation to think that the text is meant to be spoken by a man.
A reading of the original Italian, however, makes clear that it is the woman who speaks. This weights the balance of true lyricism in the cycle in favour of the man, and this song, coming two-thirds the way through the set, goes some way to help redress that balance. The song scores points and wins hearts not because of any clever word-setting or even word-related psychological insight, but because of the sheer beauty of the music which could convey tenderness and infinite longing even if it were wordless.
As in the manner of many of the songs from the second set, the accompaniment is written in string quartet fashion: here the addition of the voice makes a glorious quintet, the vocal line a beautifully bowed integral part of the overall texture with softly undulating triplets leading us forward with music heartfelt and poigant. The very willingness of the singer to yield her autonomy and become part of the ensemble reinforces the notion of someone who stands in the background until needed.
There is no doubt that Wolf had old-fashioned notions of the German woman in the home rendered more poignant for him by the fact that almost all his own relationships were conducted in secret for various reasons, and that he never knew the daily sharing of an acknowledged companion. These words may imply the sort of masochism to anger feminists, but the music transcends them, and even contradicts them in a way rare in Wolf.
The fact that the love is unconditional gives a wonderful grave dignity to the singer rather than diminishing her. In any case, despite what the words say, no-one capable of voicing love with this depth could possibly be in the thrall of handsomeness alone — this devotion has been inspired by something much more than a self-regarding Italian good-looker. The postlude, full-toned and eloquent, is amongst the most beautiful in the set; it is more a rapturous hymn of thanksgiving than the plaint of the downtrodden.
The composer was in fact himself the recipient of a devotion similar to that given to the lucky Italian recipient of this song. Wie bei vielen Liedern im zweiten Teil ist die Begleitung auch hier in der Art eines Streichquartetts geschrieben. Melanies hoffnungslose, aber beharrliche Besuche in der Heilanstalt an Wolfs Lebensende bezeugen dies.
The piece opens with an imperious upward scale G major, but starting on a D which depicts anger as well as introducing watery images of torrents and stream which lie at the heart of the text. At the top of this opening scale the right hand lands on, and holds, a minim D: the left has a sforzato spread G major chord — a single snatched quaver. Is he spurning her, or has his whole song come about because she has refused him?
In any case he is fuming, but his anger takes the form of a sort of exaggerated politeness, full of wry lip-curling and sarcastic little bows. Surging scales in the left hand sound explosively angry, but they are there to establish an idea which will soon come into its own. A footnote to the song gives us a geography lesson: we are told that in the hot summer months the river Arno is deserted by its tributaries.
The spurned lover bitterly believes that, in like manner, the woman will find herself without any lovers in lean times, despite the huge number she has now. He builds up the tension in a masterly fashion with a succession of sequences which rise through a number of keys like a build-up of rivers flooding the Arno with increasing volumes of water; it is this passage which apparently cost him some little time in the organizing. Note that the demisemiquaver runs which signify the rush of the tributary streams are at this point flowing in an upward direction.
This stormy bluster with upward surge answered by downward gush continues for the next two lines as if the singer helped by the pianist of course is himself diverting the course of these smaller rivers with his bare hands. This postlude is grandiose as if he is mighty in his wrath — this is music for a Titan.
In true Wolfian fashion, however, there is a greater depth to this commentary: we are allowed to hear in the final cadence of pianissimo quavers a small whimper. En tous les cas il est furieux. Le postlude est grandiose, comme pour manifester l'ampleur de ce courroux — il s'agit d'une musique digne d'un Titan.
And then we are plunged into one of those outbursts, the spontaneous combustion of the emotions, which make Wolf's Italian songs such vivid and believable evocations of everyday life. She turns on him and tells him exactly why she has been down in the mouth, singing with that mixture of anger and hurt pride with which the listener is now familiar.
The composer too. Grief over my absence had caused this transformation … she is beside herself and I fear the worst. The opening words are set to a tune which is sung in the first bar and then moves into the accompaniment where it is deployed in various transformations and disguises. The opening rhetorical question is delivered almost operatically by a neglected woman of some grandeur. After these four bars the tempo changes and the singer is less successful in controlling her emotions; dignity slips somewhat as the tempo quickens and she is now simply a young girl who gives her lover a piece of her mind.
The various stops and starts in the vocal line are an astonishingly accurate evocation of a tirade interrupted only by tiny pauses for thought and emphasis, and in order to swallow tears. Of course this offends her dignity, but at least it enables her to blame someone other than the boy himself for the rarity of his visits. As the song progresses we can hear the singer struggling to regain her composure. She realizes that she cannot win him back by accusations, but rather by an act of heroic, even religious, renunciation.
Her sudden appeal to the powers of heaven moves the song into another dimension. It is as if she has taken the veil before our eyes, but surely only as a means to salvage her own dignity in a way to make him possibly relent and love her the more. The postlude is a grandiose, orchestrally inspired tutti. The song ends in the dominant: the crisis is still far from resolution.
Sans toi, je ne le serai jamais. Ohne dich kann ich es nie sein. From time to time Wolf allows himself to choose poetry for setting which has re-awakened in him a youthful passion for Wagnerian cataclysm.
At the end of XXXI there was the first of the tremolandi found in some of the postludes of the later Italian songs — a tell-tale sign that the composer has operatic dimensions in his mind. Wolf knew large chunks of the Wagner operas by heart, and these passionate rumblings became part of his song-writing vocabulary. This is an effect that can seem slightly comical as it breaks through the boundaries of what is effective in pianistic terms.
The tone of self-righteousness could be seen as someone who protests her innocence rather too much, however. Such a devious viewpoint is certainly not beyond our composer. In this respect Wolf has placed his hallmark on a song which nevertheless seems untypical of the set. L'inclusion dans le recueil d'un tel lied Verschling' der Abgrund , le no. Un raisonnement aussi tortueux n'est certainement pas impossible de la part de Wolf.
Solch ein verschlagener Standpunkt ist unserem Komponisten sicherlich zuzutrauen. This song is built entirely on an A flat pedal. This tonal anchor denotes both constancy and obsession. The gentle tolling of syncopated octave A flats in the left hand, no less than 84 of them, accounts for a sense of suspended animation — of belonging to another world, half-way between life and a romantic vision of what death might be. The difference, however, between the dying girl of the Brahms song and the lovesick swain of the Wolf is that the Italian lover is expiring of nothing more sinister than love, and that the elaborate conceit of the poem is, like so many others in the work, a means of paying his girl the most elegant of compliments.
It is easy for the performer to be wooed into this sort of self-indulgence. Over the repeated A flats in the bass, a succession of soft chords in the right hand droop and sigh, intertwining with the vocal line which within a relatively small compass suggests someone thunderstruck and almost incapacitated by a blinding vision of love. Or perhaps a direct experience of it.
Both songs, although from utterly different cultures, seem suffused with the dying golden light of an enchanted afternoon of love. But there is nothing smugly satisfied about this music; this has been the kind of love-making that magnifies longing rather than assuages it; she has entered his bloodstream and there is a need for deeper and deeper communion. The occasional addition of accidentals outside the key of A flat provides magical harmonic touches.
The postlude murmurs echoes of continuing devotion.Start studying Peter und der Wolf. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.