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Meeres Stille, Op 60 No 3

First line:
Tiefe Stille herrscht im Wasser
author of text

This setting for three voices is part of the ninth book of Tomášek’s songs which is entirely given over to trio settings (SSB); it also includes Wonne der Wehmuth and the poem Glückliche Fahrt (not set by Schubert) that is the pendant to Meeres Stille. Schubert’s marking for his setting is Sehr langsam, ängstlich; it is precisely this angst that is lacking in many a performance where the becalmed ship can seem a paradise of repose, rather than a source of fear and a slow, lingering death. Tomášek’s accompaniment of syncopated semiquavers in the bass of the piano communicates the greatest unease—we can imagine the broad, flat horizon seen from the ship’s deck where three crew members (or passengers) voice their concerted disquiet.

comparative Schubert listening:
Meeres Stille First version, D215a. 20 June 1815
Meeres Stille Second version, D216. 21 June 1815

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006


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