About Life in Flow:Flow in Life

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Schubertiade Chicago!

Schubert at the piano
The Schubertiade Chicago will be held this Saturday, January 29, at the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. You can get more information and the schedule here. I'm very excited to be playing not only the 5 Duets for horns that I wrote about in an earlier post, but Auf dem Strom, the song for soprano, horn and piano.

Alexis Magarò, soprano, and Helen Raymaker, piano, and I will be performing Auf dem Strom at 8 pm in Curtis Hall.This will be the first time I have done this song with a soprano. It is different than performing it with a tenor. I believe the horn and tenor blend more, being in the same range, but the soprano and horn contrast each other well.

Earlier, at 4:45, Nancy Orbison and I will be playing the 5 Duets. Because they are also songs, the pieces being written for voices or horns, there are words. We thought it would be helpful to us in interpreting the duets and interesting for our audience to know something of what the songs were about. I wrote something about the songs previously on this blog, but the two final songs were puzzling to both Nancy and me. I had taken the lyrics and tossed them into Google translator, which translates quite literally. Some of the results were pretty strange. I don't know German, so I went to someone who does, Ben Hebebrand. Ben (who is my boss) was born in Germany and was able to interpret the expressions in the two hunting songs. Lützow's wilde Jagd was especially puzzling. It was obviously about a heroic figure, but also included mysterious references to "black fellows, black riders, black fallen." He did some research and found that both hunting songs were written about the Napoleonic wars, which were happening at the time Schubert wrote the songs. In response to Napoleon invasions, the countries that would eventually become Germany began to band together to fight back. The two songs have a strong nationalistic theme. This was so interesting that I did a little research myself. I found a reference to the poet Theodor Körner, who wrote the lyrics to both hunting songs and Morgenstern, in a biography of Schubert written by Elizabeth Norman McKay. Schubert met Körner one time only, in 1813 after an opera performance. They had a memorable conversation, but shortly after Körner joined the Lützow corps to fight France. He was killed a few months later.

Next I googled Lützow and found Adolf, baron von Lützow. He formed a calvary "free corps" of volunteers to fight behind French lines. Though he is described as largely ineffectual, he and his troops are clearly the bold heroes of Lützow's wilde Jagd. Lützow's corps was also known as "the Schwarze Schar (“Black Band”) after its uniform, which was a symbol of mourning for enslaved Germany." This explains the mysterious references in each verse to the "black fellows," "black riders," "black swimmers," and so on. It is a brash, heroic poem. Here is a sample:

What shines from the forest there in the sunshine?
Hear it roaring closer and closer.
it runs down in dark rows,
And shrill horns sound in it.
... And if you ask the black fellows:
Who is,
This is Lützow's wild, reckless hunting.

What draws up quickly thorugh the dark forest
And stripped from mountain to mountain?
It lies in night ambush
The Hurra rejoice, and fires the rifle,
...And if you ask the black hunters:
Who is,
This is Lützow's wild, reckless hunting.

I did not expect to learn so much history when I went in search of some Schubert to play!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just downloaded Skype to get info on Horn. What do I do next? Marty Willams, Successful Principal Horn in many pro and AM groups, and soloist over many,many years.