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Track(s) taken from CDH55360

Dämmrung senkte sich von oben

composer
28 August 1843
author of text

Susan Gritton (soprano), Eugene Asti (piano)
Recording details: March 1999
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Oliver Rivers
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: January 2000
Total duration: 2 minutes 24 seconds

Cover artwork: Woman at a window (1822) by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
 
1
Dämmrung senkte sich von oben  [2'24]

This famous poem is from Goethe’s collection Chinesisch-Deutschen Jahres- und Tageszeiten (‘Chinese-German book of Hours and Seasons’), written in 1827 when the poet was seventy-eight. Fanny beautifully captures the tone of Goethe’s serene hymn to nightfall, when the oppression of a troubled spirit is healed by the cool light of the moon rising in the east. From the very first phrase the music slides from D major harmony to B flat major with rich chords giving the effect of darkness descending. The accompaniment gradually rises at the image of the evening star, and sinking harmonies are delicately interrupted by a sparkling arpeggio on the word ‘Abendstern’. An evocative passage follows that aptly depicts the creeping mists and magical moonlight of both verses respectively. The music here is a variation of the opening bars and the end of the phrase (‘in die Höh’/Zauberschein’) is inverted into a resolutery falling phrase exchanged between voice and piano that returns us to D major once more. An arresting calm is achieved at ‘ruht der See/ins Herz hinein’ with the voice on a suspended pianissimo note over subtly ambiguous major/minor harmony, and the piece concludes mysteriously with low tolling bass notes.

from notes by Eugene Asti and Susan Gritton © 2000

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