Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello - Maurice Prendergast
Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello - M. Prendergast

My dearest, I send you this music postcard from the city where I'm spending my holiday.

I always try to pick a song that gives you a clue about the place; it was difficult other years, but this time there was plenty to choose from, because it caught the attention of many writers of the Romanticism. For example, Irish poet Thomas Moore dedicated some poems to the city after visiting it in 1819.

One of them became known in the German version of Ferdinand Freiligrath, when several composers set it into music. Among these Lieder, the best known is probably that of Robert Schumann, but I especially like the one by his friend Felix Mendelssohn, composed two years later, in 1842. This song will be the musical illustration of this postcard, performed by Hermann Prey and Leonard Hokanson. And well... I don't think I've ever given you a clearer clue of where I am.

Greetings from...!


Venetianisches Gondellied

Wenn durch die Piazetta
Die Abendluft weht,
Dann weißt du, Ninetta,
Wer wartend hier steht.
Du weißt, wer trotz Schleier
Und Maske dich kennt,
Du weisst, wie die Sehnsucht
Im Herzen mir brennt.

Ein Schifferkleid trag' ich
Zur selbigen Zeit,
Und zitternd dir sag' ich:
„Das Boot ist bereit!
O, komm’! jetzt, wo Lunen
Noch Wolken umziehn,
Laß durch die Lagunen,
Geliebte uns fliehn!“

When through the Piazzetta
Night breathes her cool air,
Then, dearest Ninetta,
I'll come to thee there.
Beneath thy mask shrouded,
I'll know thee afar,
As Love knows, though clouded,
his own Evening Star.

In garb, then, resembling
Some gay gondolier,
I'll whisper thee, trembling,
Our bark, love, is near:
Now, now, while there hover
those clouds o'er the moon,
'Twill waft thee safe over
yon silent Lagoon."

(Thomas Moore)


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