Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Brahms - Schicksalslied, Opus 54

Atlanta Symphony
Robert Shaw, conductor

One of the few recordings I've heard of this where you can hear the chorus clearly above the orchestra, not surprising in that Shaw was one of the greatest of choral conductors of the last century. This piece, written about the same time and in the same mind set as the Alto Rhapsody is one of the really great choral pieces of the 19th century.

Here is a version more familiar to more of us who have sung in student choruses with piano accompaniment.   The student chorus is quite good and very well conducted and the piano player, not named, is excellent.

East Central University Singers,
Ada, Oklahoma
Dr. Walker, director

If anyone can send me his/her full name, I will post it.



Schicksalslied (Song Of Destiny)
You walk above in the light
on holy ground, blessed genies!
Divine breezes
waft by you,
like the fingers of the player
on the holy strings.

Fateless, like sleeping infants,
breathe the heavenly beings.
With modest buds
ever protected,
their spirit will bloom forever,
and their blessed eyes
will see in silent,
perpetual clarity.

But we are given
no place to rest.
We vanish and fall,
suffering humans.
Blind from hour to hour,
thrown from tragedy to tragedy
like water thrown from cliff to cliff,
we disappear into the abyss.

Friedrich Hölderlin

Obviously this text is less optimistic than that of the Alto Rhapsody, while I love this piece and thoroughly enjoyed being in different choruses which sang it with piano.  I don't endorse the position it takes.

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