Hyperion Records

Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt
First line:
Antonius zur Predigt
8 July 1893; subsequently published as No 6 of Des Knaben Wunderhorn (also called Humoresken); remodelled as the scherzo of Symphony No 2
author of text
Des Knaben Wunderhorn

'Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn' (CDA67645)
Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt
Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, which Mahler later developed into the scherzo of his Symphony No 2, is the musical equivalent of a scene from some medieval German altarpiece. In this tale St Anthony, fed up at the indifference of his congregation, goes down to the river to preach to the fishes, the joke (and the moral) being that however much they all enjoy the sermon they are no more reformed by it than their human equivalents. Mahler’s setting has a wonderfully straight-faced sense of humour, its 3/8 ostinato teeming with fish that dart and dive through the depths of the keyboard in gleaming parallel thirds. When the fishes’ delight is expressed (‘Kein Predigt niemalen …’) the underlying Ländler becomes an outright dance, strutting its stuff with an almost Bergian polytonality, while a smoother and nobler F major section at ‘Gut Aale und Hausen’ perfectly conveys the distinctions of rank. At the end however all is disillusion; the final verse is underpinned by a C minor pedal point and the scene dissolves in a descending chromatic passage that is remarkably similar to the end of Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen from Schumann’s Dichterliebe.

from notes by Roger Vignoles 2008

Track-specific metadata
   English   Français   Deutsch