Hyperion Records

Abendbilder
First line:
Friedlicher Abend senkt sich aufs Gefilde
composer
January to February 1877
author of text

Recordings
'Wolf: Lieder nach Heine und Lenau' (CDH55389)
Wolf: Lieder nach Heine und Lenau
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55389  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Details
Track 25 on CDH55389 [9'17] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Abendbilder
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Abendbilder is a distinct curiosity, in which Wolf strings together three separate odes of Lenau as a continuous narrative, evoking the atmosphere of a Classical landscape. If it has a precedent, it is in some of the longer and more episodic songs of Schubert, or in the more illustrative sections of Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons. For Wolf, the music may seem unexpectedly ingenuous, but this is in keeping with the pietistic mood of the text. Simple in harmony, with most of the interest centred on the piano part, it conjures up in turn a dramatic moonrise, a sequence of rather comically chromatic sheepbells, the eventual setting of the sun, and—particularly charmingly—the peaceful grazing of cattle (at ‘Schon verstummt die Matte’). All of this is clearly orchestral in inspiration: there is even a suggestion of Wagnerian high strings à la Lohengrin just before the herdsman’s prayer brings the somewhat rambling structure to a satisfying close by reprising the music of the opening section.

Abendbilder was composed during the two months before Wolf’s seventeenth birthday in March 1877.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2002

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