In concert, the Wunderhorn
songs are often performed by two singers, male and female, and the collection includes a number of dialogues, of which the most famous, Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
, is perhaps the emotional highpoint of the whole set. It has a direct ancestor in Kriegers Ahnung
, one of the most compelling songs of Schubert’s Schwanengesang
. Offstage military fanfares and drum beats set the scene, in which a girl is visited by her lover, or by his spirit, on the eve of battle. Whether he is already dead, or has a premonition of death next day, is not absolutely clear, but in either case the rapt tenderness of the encounter, and its foreboding, is unmistakeable, contrasting the tight-laced 2/4 of military duty with the lilting, dreamlike 3/4 of the lovers’ embrace.
from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2008