Thursday, January 22, 2009

'She Never Told Her Love'

Today as it was getting dark I was skiing around the park and I was thinking about Haydn. The reason I was thinking about Haydn was I do a lot of listening to music in the park, when I am walking around, not skiing. I listen to a personal CD player. At least I used to, before personal CD players became obsolete. You cannot find them any more. My last one broke and I cannot replace it so to tell the truth, I do not listen to music in the park any more.

But once when I was walking around the park I was listening to Haydn songs. I was listening to "She Never Told Her Love." It was a song Haydn set to Shakespeare.

I still remember exactly where I was when I was listening to that song. I was walking counterclockwise on the Ring Road, with the Scajaquada Expressway on my right, and I was just about at the top of the hill. It is funny how you remember sometimes where you were when you first hear something that comes to mean a lot to you. The reason I remember all the details about that particular song was I was startled that I find that when it ended, I had tears in my eyes.

You do not normally think of crying when you are listening to Haydn.

People used to cry listening to him, I guess. I read about "The Creation," how when it was first performed, people would come out of it in tears, overwhelmed by what they had heard and unable to describe it. It was close to impossible to get tickets to it. But we do not often see Haydn that way these days. I know I do not, not usually. We are used to Mozart and Mozart is more passionate.

Still, Haydn did have that elusive gift for nobility, for making music noble. I mean look, he did write the melody that became "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles." Whatever you think of Germany, that is quite a theme. It inspired men to fight and to die. If you asked the average guy who watches the History Channel who wrote it, I doubt he would guess Haydn.

Back to that song I was listening to, "She Never Told Her Love." There was something about it. About the last line, "She sat, like Patience on a monument, smiling, smiling at grief." About the way Haydn sets that to music.

Haydn knew a thing or two about unrequited love. That is for sure.

I went on You Tube when I got back from skiing and looked for a performance of this song. The best one I could find, which is not saying much, is this one. It is kind of cute. That squat little singer! Maybe it is how the recital was filmed.

Looking through the You Tube offerings, though, I get the idea that I am not the only person with deep feelings for this song. One woman posted a video of herself singing along with this guy's performance! Too funny.

And too sad, this song.

1 comment:

  1. This is probably hopelessly pedantic and meaningless, but I find it interesting that the tune to "Deutchland" etc. was actually written for the emperor of Austria and taken up as the Austrian national anthem. Austria is a separate country from Germany then and now. The tune also appears in protestant hymnals with a sacred text. Apparently on the morning of the day he died, Haydn had himself carried to his piano and he played through his Emperor's Hymn several times.

    Haydn was underrated for years, but was, and is a very great master, with a flawless writing technique. He also knew when to end a piece, a gift that many composers lack.