Thursday, January 12, 2017

Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Des Knaben Wunderhorn is a set of twelve songs written for a baritone, a soprano and orchestra by Mahler. They were completed in 1905. These old German folk songs narrate about a boy's magic horn. These were folk poems from Germany that were edited by Von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. The anthology included poems on songs made by wandering soldiers and they were mostly about love and innocence. They became a strong part of Romantic nationalism in literature. Goethe recommended that this set of poems be part of every household in Germany. Mahler gave these lieder a dual setting. He composed nine of them for piano and voice and twelve songs for voice and orchestra. The songs are - "Der Schildwache Nachtlied" – The Sentinel's Night Song "Verlor'ne Müh" – Labour Lost "Trost im Unglück" – Solace in Misfortune "Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht?" – Who Thought up this Song? "Das irdische Leben" – The Earthly Life "Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt" – St. Anthony of Padua's Sermon to the Fish "Rheinlegendchen" – Little Rhine Legend "Lied des Verfolgten im Turm" – Song of the Persecuted in the Tower "Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen" – Where the Fair Trumpets Sound "Lob des hohen Verstandes" – Praise of Lofty Intellect "Urlicht" – Primeval Light "Es sungen drei Engel" – Three Angels sang a Sweet Air The ideals of German national romanticism held that whatever was not corrupted by the ill effects of modern civilisation was instrumental in the nation's recovery and not many people are aware of the fact that the Brothers Grimm started their collection of German fairy tales under the inspiration and guidance of Clemens Brentano. From this collection of songs, Urlicht was incorporated into the Resurrection Symphony in 1894 as its fourth movement. Es Sungen Drei Engel found its place in the Third Symphony and was written for boys' chorus besides an alto singer. Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt also is found as the germ of the Scherzo in the Resurrection. while Absolung im Sommer is also adopted in the scherzo of the Third Symphony. Das Himmlische Leben was re-orchestrated and became part of the Fourth Symphony's finale. It was removed from the Wundehorn collection of songs at a later time. Here is a performance of these songs by Cleveland Orchestra under Pierre Boulez.

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