Hyperion Records

Dämmrung senkte sich von oben
composer
28 August 1843
author of text

Recordings
'Mendelssohn: Lieder' (CDH55360)
Mendelssohn: Lieder
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55360  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – April 2013' (HYP201304)
Hyperion monthly sampler – April 2013
HYP201304  Download-only monthly sampler   No longer available
Details
Track 24 on CDH55360 [2'24] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on HYP201304 [2'24] Download-only monthly sampler

Dämmrung senkte sich von oben
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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