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Track(s) taken from CDD22010

Fischerweise, D881

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

The Songmakers' Almanac, Richard Jackson (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: November 1983
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1997
Total duration: 2 minutes 57 seconds

Cover artwork: Party Games of the Schubertians (Gesellschaftspeilungen der Schubertianer) by Leopold Kupelwieser

Other recordings available for download

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)


'Impossible to imagine anyone not deriving enormous pleasure from this collection' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Reviewers have long since run out of adjectives to describe Graham Johnson's superb complete Schubert song series for Hyerion. Now, for the Schubert centenary year, comes a re-release of a Schubertide which while not part of the series is certainly in the same spirit. "Back catalogue" at Hyperion means caskets of jewels rather than dusty shelves. There are so many matchless performances on this set that you could operate the player blindfold and pick a winner every time. All conjure up memories of superb evenings in the concert hall where this group could justifiably claim to have set a new standard for the presentation of song' (The Singer)
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

Other albums featuring this work

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 2 - Stephen Varcoe
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