Sunday, October 3, 2021

Hugo Wolf and the road to Bethlehem

Today at church we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We did the Gospel reading you hear in Advent, about the angel Gabriel being sent to Nazareth to meet with Mary. I loved this because it is like jumping the gun on Christmas, and you know me, I am always up for that!

Back home, I found myself drawn back to my old obsession, Hugo Wolf's song "Nun wandre, Maria." It is about Mary and Joseph on the way to Bethlehem. It is from Wolf's "Spanish Song Book."

As I love to repeat at great length, you can tell from the piano accompaniment how tired everyone is -- Mary, Joseph, and the donkey, all of them stumbling along toward Bethlehem.

There is this video I found that I do not believe I ever got to share. That is it at the top of this post.

I always wish that videos had translations, however if there were text it might have ruined this video. The artwork is just so lovely. A little primitive, a little grotesque, starting with that unusual angel. The face of the cow peering out of the darkness, that gets me. Whoever posted the video did not say what the artwork was. It appears to have been painted on wood. I would guess it was German or Dutch.

And the performance! I have never heard this song sung this slow. The tenor who is singing, too, he is startling. His name is Peter Anders.

I have never heard a singer sound like him!

He has such a beautiful voice and such control. I had never heard of him when I first heard this video -- which I did two years ago, because I see I left a comment. I still know nothing about him. In the description I was surprised to see he died a long time ago. The recording has been remastered very well, I am guessing, because it sounds so clear and not old.

One of these days I will have to go down the Internet rabbit hole and find out about Maestro Anders and discuss what I find out. But for now I just want to watch and listen to this. 

The painting, the music, the slow stumbling pace -- I was honestly tearing up.

So beautiful!!