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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winterreise No. 11, Frühlingstraum (026)

As far as Winterreise goes, that was a longer break after "Rast" than anticipated. We've had our Singerreise adventures with a concert, with interviews and a book review, but we weren't done with Winterreise. I am still planning to do all 24 songs. So now I present to you the 11th in the cycle, Frühlingstraum!

To get back up to speed, let's review. In number 8, Rückblick, our Wanderer took off running to put some distance between him and the town. In number 9, Irrlicht, he wandered off the path and saw some ghost-lights (probably due to the exertion of running so hard). Then in number 10, Rast, he forced himself to rest, breaking into a charcoal-burners hut to lay down, despite the burning in the legs and heart.

Eventually, it seems our Wanderer did manage to nod off. The title for this piece is "Frühlingstraum," or "Spring Dream." It has the subtitle "Three Songs Each Sung Twice."

No, that subtitle doesn't actually appear in the score, but the most notable thing in this piece is its three parts. In the first part, the Wanderer is blissfully asleep, dreaming in a pastoral 6/8 time about the flowers that bloom in the spring (tra la!), and of birds singing. The accompaniment is simple and friendly, and the melody is charming and frolicking.

In the second part, a rooster crows, waking him up in the pre-dawn darkness. The music here gets suddenly fast, harsh, and minor. Chords in the accompaniment pound away, and there's several sudden dynamic changes. There's also a rude rooster crowing figure in the piano part, because Schubert can't help himself when it comes to word-painting.

The third part is longer than the previous two, and slower than both. The meter changes completely out of the compound 6/8 and into a simple 2/4. Here, the Wanderer seems to calm down from waking up so suddenly, and he's able to notice that there are "leaves" on the windowpanes.

In case you forgot, this piece isn't from Frühlingsreise, it's from Winterreise. If you hadn't figured it out by now, he's talking about frost. Yeah, I know, we don't get much of that here in the Pacific Northwest anymore.

Anyway, the Wanderer kinda chuckles at his cleverness and manages to lull himself back to sleep... starting the whole process over again. Back to the first part!

This time his Frühlingstraum has a lovely maiden in it. He remembers being in love, warm hearts and kisses, and he even remembers being happy. Then, the rooster crows again. This time, however, he just sits alone in the darkness and thinks about his dream.

His eyes close again, and he feels his heart still warm from the dream. He asks when the window-leaves will become green, and when will he get to hold his Liebchen in his arms.

The hardest part in this piece (besides memorizing the six stanzas of text!) is getting the attitude just right for each of the three pieces. In fact, it's even a little trickier than that. Each line needs to be treated independently. You can't just sing the text according to what's in the music for this one. Sometimes they agree, but not always.

Two examples come to mind. The first example is at the end of the first verse, where the music is turning melancholy again, just before the repeat. However, the text here is "You'd probably laugh at this dreamer for seeing flowers in Winter." It's a light-hearted (albeit sarcastic) statement, and can't be sung too serious.

The second example is in the fast part of the second verse. Yes, we have the rooster crowing and startling the Wanderer back awake again. But the second line is about being alone, and thinking about the dream. You can't sing that line bouncy and out of breath. It has to be introspective, despite the brisk tempo.

It really keeps you on your toes!

Thanks for coming by the blog! Feel free to add your comments below, and be sure to check out our other sites: facebook.com/singerreise, the Singerreise YouTube Channel, and patreon.com/singerreise. Especially check out Patreon. My ability to make it all the way to number 24 and beyond relies on your support through Patreon.

Enjoy this presentation of Frühlingstraum!

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