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Fischerweise, D881

First line:
Den Fischer fechten Sorgen
composer
March 1826; published in 1828 without opus number
author of text

 
This song is universally popular although it celebrates a man's world in which women are allowed to play little part. Everything about this music suggests fraternal male banter. The bouncing counterpoint between the solo line and the accompaniment gives a strong impression of comradely collusion. Just as in a shanty, a soloist has been elected (in this case a baritone) to lead the proceedings, but the left hand of the piano part is a veritable chorus of assorted and assenting men's voices.

Schubert's mastery of the male partsong is here given pianistic expression; the gruff basses at the beginning are echoed by tenors a twelfth higher and at the end of the first two verses there is something liked a whistled obbligato as the left hand crosses to the treble. This is the only moment when the accompaniment dares to enter the dangerous domain of the soprano register. The advantage of having the percussive and wordless piano stand in for this chorus is that the left hand tunes, when combined with the energetic motor rhythms of the right, create an irresistible illusion of splashing waves and glinting sunlight. In lesser hands than Schubert's this song (to a rather mediocre text by his friend Baron Schlechta) would have had a coarse ring to it - the splashing of water can as easily follow a game of rugby as describe a day of fishing. Despite the energy and heartiness of the music Schubert never descends to the vulgar or brutal: the reference to the 'schlaue Wicht' is rendered charming by a clever displacement of the rhythm which suggests insouciance rather than chauvinism or misogyny. Apart from this adjustment in the last verse the song is strophic. Schubert has no compunction in leaving out one of Schlechta's seven stanzas to make a neat structure of two verses of poetry for each one of music.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1988

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 2 – Stephen Varcoe
CDJ33002
Schubert: The Songmakers' Almanac Schubertiade
CDD220102CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) — Archive ServiceDownload currently discounted

Details

Track 1 on CDD22010 CD2 [2'57] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) — Archive Service
Track 3 on CDJ33002 [3'27]
Track 4 on CDS44201/40 CD32 [3'27] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDD22010 disc 2 track 1

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-84-13201
Duration
2'57
Recording date
24 November 1983
Recording venue
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Schubert: The Songmakers' Almanac Schubertiade (CDD22010)
    Disc 2 Track 1
    Release date: March 1997
    Deletion date: March 2010
    2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) — Archive Service
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