Art Blogging Contest

Please vote for Musical Perceptions in the Art Blogging Match of Doom

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh lindenbaum, Oh lindenbaum.....

Even though all of us vocalists have spent many long class periods in German diction singing it over and over, I still find “Der Lindenbaum” From Winterreise by Franz Schubert to be a very lovely song. To summarize (very) briefly, it is a song about a man and a Linden tree that has been a central part of his life. It is a symbol of his emotional and spiritual growth. At the beginning of this strophic poem, the poet sets a very lovely scene with flowing fountains and the like. Schubert obviously composed this in a major key, the key of E major to be exact. There is nothing a great interest in the harmony at this beginning point of the song (mm.9-24), it is mostly I’s and V’s with a couple of unresolved… V/V’s? All I can say about the V/V’s is that perhaps Schubert did it intentionally so as not to let us fall into the security of the major key, because after the first 25 measures/ two stanzas, he switches to e minor. This happens to reflect the ominous nature of the text: “I had to pass it again today in the dead of night. And even in the darkness I had to close my eyes”.
Then, as the workbook states midway through strophe 5 there is a prolonged bVI chord (m.49 and on). I found this chord to be upsetting and very ominous. It really made you want the key to return to a “normal” E major. The fast-paced sixteenth note motion in the bass gives it a swooping feeling, like the wind in the text.
In terms of text painting elsewhere in the song, I was surprised that Schubert didn’t do more for the word “rauschten” or rustled. When reading the poem I assumed that at that part it would be a bit more jarring. I guess Schubert wanted a more serene sound at that point. The text mentions the tree calling to the man, and at that point the key switches back to major providing a warmer beckoning tone.
If I were to perform this I would definitely kick the tempo up a notch! I was about to die of boredom during parts of this song! Ugh! Albeit, the slower tempo help create a nostalgic feel but does not do to much for entertainment. Other than that, I feel that this is a good performance.

No comments: