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Dämmrung senkte sich von oben

composer
28 August 1843
author of text

 
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

Recordings

Mendelssohn: Lieder
CDH55360

Details

Track 24 on CDH55360 [2'24]

Track-specific metadata for CDA67110 track 24

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-00-11024
Duration
2'24
Recording date
17 March 1999
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Oliver Rivers
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Mendelssohn: Lieder (CDA67110)
    Disc 1 Track 24
    Release date: January 2000
    Deletion date: July 2008
    Superseded by CDH55360
  2. Mendelssohn: Lieder (CDH55360)
    Disc 1 Track 24
    Release date: April 2013
  3. Hyperion monthly sampler – April 2013 (HYP201304)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: April 2013
    Download-only monthly sampler
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