Abendlied (1989)

Programme Note: John Buckley

Abendlied was commissioned by and is dedicated to Penelope Price-Jones and Philip Martin, who gave the first performance in the Royal Irish Academy of Music in July 1989. The texts are by the German Romantic lyric poets Clemens Brentano and Joseph von Eichendorff. The poems evoke the shimmering quiet of evening, with an almost mystical feeling for the sights and sound of nature. Abendlied is unified by the elaborate melismatic treatment of the vocal line throughout and by the development and variation of the piano’s harmonic and motivic devices.

Text

Clemens Brentano

 
Abendständchen
Hör’, es klagt die Flöte wieder
Und die kühlen Brunnen rauschen,
Golden weh’n die Töne nieder;
Stille, stille, lass’ uns lauschen!
Evening Serenade
Listen, the flute laments again
And the cool fountains rustle,
Golden the notes waft down;
Still, still, let us listen!
   

Joseph von Eichendorff

 
Der Abend
Schweigt der Menschen laute Lust:
Rauscht die Erde wie in Träumen
Wunderbar mit allen Bäumen,
Was dem Herzen kaum bewußt,
Alte Zeiten, linde Trauer,
Und es schweifen leise Schauer
Wetterleuchtend durch die Brust.

Mondnacht
Es war, als hätt’ der Himmel
Die Erde still geküßt,
Daß sie im Blütenshimmer
Von ihm nun träumen müßt’.

Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
Die Ähren wogten sacht,
Es rauschten leis die Wälder,
So sternklar war die Nacht.

Und meine Seele spannte
Weit ihre Flügel aus,
Flog durch die stillen Lande,
Als flöge sie nach Haus.

Evening
When the loud merriment of men is quiet;
The earth rustles as in a dream
Miraculously with all her trees,
What the heart is hardly conscious of,
Old times, gentle sadness,
And quiet tremors sweep
Like summer lightening through my breast.

Moonlit Night
It was as though the sky
Had gently kissed the earth,
So that she in the glory of blossom
Now had to dream of him

The breeze went across the fields,
The ears of corn waved gently,
The woods rustled softly,
The night was so starry-clear.

And my soul stretched
Wide its wings and
Flew through the still lands,
As though it were flying home.