Der Einsiedler vor seiner Klause - Carl Spitzweg (1808–1885)
L'ermità davant la seva ermita - C. Spitzweg


Between March 30 and April 3, 1850, Robert Schumann composed three lieder upon poems by three different poets, which were published two months later as Drei Gesänge, Op. 83. The last of these lieder is Der Einsiedler [The hermit], which is also the last with poem by Joseph von Eichendorff. Ten years earlier, he had written, among others, the twelve that form the Liederkreis, Op. 39, which is probably the most genuinely romantic work of the repertoire.

Der Einsiedler is a song to the night, the “comfort of the world”. It is also a prayer; the first stanza mentions a sailor praising God as he returns to the port. We hear the poetic voice, that of the hermit, in the middle of nature; he also prays at night to release him from the tiredness of the day, and from that of life. In this poem, we find a religiousness that moves between the established religion and pantheism. Schumann takes this spiritual character from the poem and composes a strophic lied with music of clearly religious inspiration; Der Einsiedler is a hymn of Lutheran austerity and, at the same time, a moving song that we will hear here performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Christoph Eschenbach.

I am aware that if you're reading this post in English, you're likely far from Vilabertran. But, just in case, please come and listen to this song sung by Andrè Schuen, one of those singers who must be heard whenever there is a chance. Whether or not you suffer from baritonophilia. Der Einsiedler will close a group of four lieder with poems by Eichendorff that will be a prologue to the Liederkreis, while in the second part of the concert we're listening to Dichterliebe. A solid programme, which, at the same time, represents a real challenge for the performers: when we listen to well-known works, we demand an excellent interpretation. And we've heard the duo of Andrè Schuen and Daniel Heide enough times to know they're going to give us a version we'll remember.

The Schubertada's last song recital will be given by the great Matthias Goerne and Alexander Schmalcz two days later, with a very interesting program dedicated to spiritual songs. Last week I went through five soprano recitals; when I distributed the concerts, I left for this week, the last of the miniseries, the last two, with two baritones. It's the perfect icing for such an excellent cake, don't you think?

As usual, you can find below the songs from these two recitals we've heard on Liederabend so far.


Der Einsiedler

Komm, Trost der Welt, du stille Nacht!
Wie steigst du von den Bergen sacht,
Die Lüfte alle schlafen,
Ein Schiffer nur noch, wandermüd’,
Singt übers Meer sein Abendlied
Zu Gottes Lob im Hafen.

Die Jahre wie die Wolken gehn
Und lassen mich hier einsam stehn,
Die Welt hat mich vergessen,
Da tratst du wunderbar zu mir,
Wenn ich beim Waldesrauschen hier
Gedankenvoll gesessen.

O Trost der Welt, du stille Nacht!
Der Tag hat mich so müd gemacht,
Das weite Meer schon dunkelt,
Laß ausruhn mich von Lust und Not,
Bis daß das ew’ge Morgenrot
Den stillen Wald durchfunkelt.

Come, comfort of the world, you still night!
How softly you climb from the hills!
The breezes are all sleeping,
only one sailor still, weary with travel,
sings across the sea an evening song
to praise God from the harbor.

The years go by like clouds
and leave me standing here alone;
the world has forgotten me.
Then amazingly, you came to me
when I was here by the rustling wood,
sitting lost in thought.

O comfort of the world, you still night!
The day has made me so weary;
the wide sea is darkening already.
Let me rest from joy and suffering
until the eternal dawn
illuminates the still wood throughout.

(translation by Emily Ezust)


Thursday 24 August: Andrè Schuen i Daniel Heide

Saturday 26 August: Matthias Goerne i Alexander Schmalcz

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