Friday, September 23, 2005


Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966) Wunderlich , yes he was
Another rehearsal today. I didn't have any voice. Nope. Nothing. Nada.
Still, Ben and I worked together well.
What continues to strike me is that all of the great composers of the lied do all the work for you. If you can really bear down on the German and draw out the colors of the language, you have it made. If you make affect with your face, or hands or body then you are clowning, not performing and certainly not performing Dichterliebe.


Today we began with song 9:

Das ist ein Floten und Geigen
Tromptern schmettern darein

The flutes and the fiddles
and the trumpets blare

Schmettern darien...they blare or scream or crow away...

Crisp and enthusiastic pronunciation of the German does so much of the work for you.
This is no time to be precious or cute.
I picture myself as a bug infested lumberjack lost in the Maine woods during black fly season...looking for "Her",and finding "She" is always just out of reach and probably a figment of my imagination due to an over abundance of bug spray (which is powerless against black flies, trust me)
I tried to read a very learned treatise on key relationships over the weekend. I got a headache and watched a Peter Sellers movie instead. The author had one stupid remark ...only tenors should sing this, since re arranging the key structure dilutes the piece. "It is surprising that any artist should wish to perform something outside their vocal range." Tell that to Lotte Lehmann or Fischer-Dieskau or Herman Prey or Fritz Wunderlich, Batman. You want to hear Dichterliebe as a peasant who feels the earth and loves unconditionally and poops in the woods? Go for Lehmann!

Nobody can read these poems or listen to this music and do the tight butt cheek hand clasp stance at the piano, with the cool gaze at the audience. This stuff is earthy, sexual and beautiful. And maybe beyond me at this time of life!

P.S. Added in 2012: I tried to fit in a Lehmann performance on 'Das ist ein floeten' here-didn't work out. Fritz Wunderlich didn't live to grow old, alas-but the freshness, beauty and youth of his singing strike me as perfect for Dichterliebe

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