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Subject: The other Erlkoenigs
From: Bill Ecker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bill Ecker <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:21:13 -0400

text/plain (129 lines)

Often overlooked there were other version of Goethe's poem set to music.  
Spohr and Tomasek also took a stab at it, but my favorite is the Carl Loewe 
version written in 1824.  Carl Loewe was the original touring virtuoso, 
composer, singer and accompanist rolled into one.  He travelled Europe 
presenting his lieds in concert, they are typically story driven, highly dramatic 
and much longer than traditional lieds to the people.

Anyhow, here are two examples:

1. Gerald Finley in the original voice/piano

2. Kurt Moll in an orchestrated versio:

Text in English:

Who's riding so late through night, so wild?
It is the father who's holding his child;
He's tucked the boy secure in his arm,
He holds him tight and keeps him warm.

My son, why hide you your face in fear?"
See you not, father, the Erl King near?
The Erl King in his crown and train?"
My son, 'tis but a foggy strain."

Sweet lovely child, come, go with me!
What wonderful games I'll play with thee;
Flowers, most colorful, yours to behold.
My mother for you has garments of gold."

My father, my father, and can you not hear
What Erl King is promising into my ear?"
Be calm, stay calm, o child of mine;
The wind through dried leaves is rustling so fine." 

Wouldst thou, fine lad, go forth with me?
My daughters should royally wait upon thee;
My daughters conduct each night their song fest
To swing and to dance and to sing thee to rest."

My Father, my father, and can you not see
Erl King's daughters, there by the tree?" 
My son, my son, I see it clear;
The ancient willows so grey do appear."  

I love thee, I'm aroused  by thy beautiful form;
And be thou not willing, I'll take thee by storm."
My father, my father, he's clutching my arm!
Erl King has done me a painful harm!"

The father shudders and onward presses;
The gasping child in his arms he caresses;
He reaches the courtyard, and barely inside,
He holds in his arms the child who has died.


Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er [hat]1 den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er [faßt]1 ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.
«Mein Sohn, was birgst du so [bang]2 dein Gesicht?» -
«Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht?
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron' und Schweif?»
«Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.»
"Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Gar schöne Spiele spiel ich mit dir;
[Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand]3,
[Meine]4 Mutter hat manch [gülden]5 Gewand."
«Mein Vater, mein Vater, und [hörest]6 du nicht,
Was Erlenkönig mir [leise]7 verspricht?»
«Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind:
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.»
"Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön;
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn
Und [wiegen und tanzen und singen]8 dich ein."
«Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlkönigs Töchter am [düstern Ort]9?»
«Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.»
"[Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt]10;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt."
«Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein [Leids]11 getan!»
Dem Vater grauset's, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält [in Armen]12 das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit [Müh']13 und Not:
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Also for fun, here is one of my favorite Loewe lieds, "Herr Oluf", which further 
demonstrates the drama Loewe wrote into his story-lieds.  Low voiced German 
speaking singers have gravitated to these lieds as they really allow them to 
demonstrate their vocal and dramatic range.  This is the famed bass-baritone 
Rudolf Bockelmann.

Here is my absolute favorite Loewe work, "Hochzeitlied"........


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