Friday, June 24, 2011

Aber abseits wer ist's?

Mr. Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg posted a video of his wife, the lovely Ann Hallenberg, singing the Altrhapsodie (Alto Rhapsody) of Mr. Brahms, so I got started listening to performance after performance of this beautiful work for contralto, male chorus, and orchestra. Here is Ann's video. There are more videos and the text behind the cut.

Jessye Norman, 1990, Philadelphia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti:

Christa Ludwig, 1962, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), Otto Klemperer:

Maureen Forrester, 1971, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa:

The Rhapsody is a setting of verses from Goethe's Harzreise im Winter

The following is stolen from the Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Page.
It's a great resource.  Go there and support them with your donations.

Aber abseits wer ist's?

Aber abseits wer ist's?
Im Gebüsch verliert sich der Pfad.
Hinter ihm schlagen
Die Sträuche zusammen,
Das Gras steht wieder auf,
Die Öde verschlingt ihn.

Ach, wer heilet die Schmerzen
Des, dem Balsam zu Gift ward?
Der sich Menschenhaß
Aus der Fülle der Liebe trank?
Erst verachtet, nun ein Verächter,
Zehrt er heimlich auf
Seinen eigenen Wert
In ungenugender Selbstsucht.

Ist auf deinem Psalter,
Vater der Liebe, ein Ton
Seinem Ohre vernehmlich,
So erquicke sein Herz!
Öffne den umwölkten Blick
Über die tausend Quellen
Neben dem Durstenden
In der Wüste!

    Alto Rhapsody

    But who is that apart?
    In the underbrush his path loses itself.
    Behind him
    The shrubs clap together,
    The grass stands up again,
    The wasteland engulfs him.
    Ah, who heals the pains
    Of him, for whom balsam became poison?
    Who drank hatred of Man
    Out of the fullness of love?
    First despised, now a despiser,
    He furtively consumes
    His own merit
     In unsatisfying egotism.
    If there is in Thy Psalter,
    Father of love, one note
    To his ear audible,
    Then refresh his heart!
    Open his clouded gaze
    To the thousand springs
    Next to the thirsting one
    In the desert!
    English version © Lena Platt 
    and David Platt


    Lucy said...

    Lovely videos; thanks for sharing. My irreverent label for the text is "Goethe in T.S. Eliot mode." I like Stephanie Blythe's version, too:

    Dr.B said...

    I can't help wondering how many of your readers would guess what this is from the words alone. Besides me, of course.

    Dr.B said...

    Christa Ludwig's version, which I have really never heard before, I regret to say, is perfectly wonderful. She is a goddess. This is one of my favorite pieces in the whole world. Favorite composer, almost favorite piece, and this is reminding me why. Thank you.

    Taminophile said...

    Lucy, I loves me some Stephanie Blythe! And can you imagine the beautiful of a Marie-Nicole Lemieux performance?
    Dr. B, I agree with you about the beauty of Christa Ludwig's performance.