Monday, August 16, 2010

Ellen's songs

Also at Mass yesterday they did an organ version of Schubert's "Ave Maria." Classical music nerds, of whom I am one, we know it is one of three songs set to German translations of Scottish poetry from Sir Walter Scott's "The Lady of the Lake." The "Ave Maria" is Ellens Gesang III, or Ellen's Third Song.

Here is Ellens Gesang I. I think it has a peculiar haunting quality. "Rest, warrior, the war is over." In this video, which is very well made with a translation, it is sung by Dame Janet Baker.

Here I sit, watching this song and sighing. Sometimes I think I have not matured beyond, oh, 16. I am not sure that Schubert ever did, either. Well, at least Schubert died at 31. At least he had an excuse never to grow up.

It is funny to think of Schubert, frozen in adolescence, in love with the stuff kids -- smart kids anyway -- are still in love with. When I was a girl at Sacred Heart there were friends of mine into Walter Scott who read all his stuff. Being a loser I only listened to music. But they read Sir Walter Scott and I remember it affected them deeply.

Schubert loved "The Lady of the Lake" and I believe he also read "The Last of the Mohicans," by James Fenimore Cooper. I do know for sure that when he was dying he was asking his friends to get him more books by  James Fenimore Cooper. Doesn't it break your heart to hear that?

On a brighter note ... I am still looking at "Ellens Gesang I." Someone has written as a comment: "What record were these songs taken from? I don't want them. I NEED them!!"

I need them too!

I love the turn the song takes at 5:26.

Here is Ellens Gesang II. This is beautiful and haunting, too. That stark horn call.

The Internet is wonderful, you know? These videos are made by this woman -- somehow I know it is a woman -- who signs herself FiDiTanzer. I recognize that as being shorthand for Fischer-Dieskau Tanzer, Tanzer being "Dancer." She dedicates a lot of videos to him. I hope he at least acknowledges her sometime. I hope he writes her a little note and says thanks. Her videos are beautiful.

She also did that video of "Normans Gesang" that I love, also from "The Lady of the Lake." This galloper, as someone put it, is one of my favorite songs in the world. I loved it when I was a kid, my name being Mary and everything. And as I said, I never progressed past 17.

Back to Ellen's Songs. Here is what everyone is waiting for: Ellens Gesang III, "Ave Maria."

It is so sweet in German. I am a big lover of Latin and I respect that this song has taken on religious significance. It is such a reverent melody. And I love hearing it in church. But the Latin words just never scan right to this thing.

It sounds perfect just the way it is.

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