from February 1878 is heavy, not to say melodramatic in mood. It describes a night walk through the forests in a thunderstorm, the singer obsessed by suicidal thoughts from which he is only restrained by the imagined voice of his dead bride. Wolf presents this as high melodrama, all ominous tremolandi and deep timpani strokes in the piano part, and a broken, spasmodic vocal line that rises to a final self-immolatory high G. The result is ultimately rather preposterous (it is certainly not one of Lenau’s greatest poems), but also rather wonderful, especially in the delirious harmonic colouring of ‘Das klingt so lieblich wie Musik’, and the glorious melodic line of the extended postlude. If An ***
recalls Tchaikovsky, Nächtliche Wanderung
makes one think of Wolf’s French contemporary (and fellow Wagnerite), Henri Duparc.
from notes by Roger Vignoles © 20002