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RC 90 Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)

text source

Max Koch (ed.), Arnim, Klemens und Bettina Brentano, J. Görres (Stuttgart: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft [n.d.]), 158-159

first performance

1909-01-05 00:00:00.0 Den Haag, Diligentia

recordings

  • Anniversary Edition 5 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD5

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 2 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 10132356
  • Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”) Noske, A.A. 5178965
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. I

  • Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)
  • Brentano, Clemens
  • soprano and piano
  • 1908-08-22 00:00:00.0 - 1908-09-11 00:00:00.0
  • duration ca. 5:30

In August 1908 Diepenbrock took up another poem by Clemens Brentano, a German writer he had known since his childhood: Der Abend (The Evening). The nocturnal atmosphere, a recurring topic in both their oeuvres, is reminiscent of Brentano’s Der Spinnerin Nachtlied (The Night Song of the Spinner) that Diepenbrock had set to music ten years before for the soprano Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius (Lied der Spinnerin, RC 42). …more >

Der Abend (incipit)


In August 1908 Diepenbrock took up another poem by Clemens Brentano, a German writer he had known since his childhood: Der Abend (The Evening). The nocturnal atmosphere, a recurring topic in both their oeuvres, is reminiscent of Brentano’s Der Spinnerin Nachtlied (The Night Song of the Spinner) that Diepenbrock had set to music ten years before for the soprano Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius (Lied der Spinnerin, RC 42).

Diepenbrock did not immediately decide to set Der Abend for soprano and piano. Two incomplete versions preceded this opus: one for vocal quartet (RC 88) and one for soprano, alto and organ (RC 89). On 22 August, the same day Diepenbrock notated these fragments, he also started the version for high soprano and piano. He completed the song on 11 September.

The genesis of the work can be followed in the correspondence with his friend W.G. Hondius van den Broek, who was also a great admirer of Brentano. On 5 September Diepenbrock mentioned that he was working on Der Abend “for Solo voice and accompaniment (orchestra or piano)”. (BD VI:6) Shortly after making the neat copy A-64(10), he decided to send Hondius the autograph of Der Abend as a gift. (From this we can deduce that the copy A-84 for Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius must have been made straightaway.) In the accompanying letter of 20 September we can read that initially Diepenbrock had a different instrument in mind for the accompaniment:

I have made this somewhat in the hope that Noordewier would sing it on her tour with Verhey, because a diligent organist can play it on the organ and no other instrument can produce the long pedal points that are supposed to depict the peace of the evening as well as the organ. But their programmes had already been fixed.

Diepenbrock considered the potential of the piano too limited for the execution of Der Abend:

In order to come into its own the Brentano song needs to be orchestrated, and there again it might be out of place in a large concert hall with everything that comes with it. Pianists could never play that.

He was equally adamant about the ideal interpreter for this song: The only one who can sing it is Noordewier. (BD VI:14)

Diepenbrock has made some changes to the text of Der Abend. The most drastic one is the omission of the two-line refrain with which each of the five verses of Brentano’s poem concludes.

Less conspicuous, but quintessential is the adaptation of the opening lines of the last strophe. Instead of:

Treuer Gott, du bist nicht weit,
Und so ziehn wir ohne Harm
In die wilde Einsamkeit
Aus des Hofes eitelm Schwarm.

Faithful God, you're not far
And thus we retreat without anguish
Into the wild solitude
From the court of the vain crowd.

Diepenbrock has written:

Treuer Gott, du bist nicht weit,
Dir vertraun wir ohne Harm
In der wilden Einsamkeit
Wie in Hofes eitlem Schwarm.

Faithful God, you're not far
We trust Thee without anguish
In the wild solitude
As in the court of the vain crowd.

Clearly he considered the individual being lonely amongst a crowd of people as something permanent...

Word painting

Hondius van den Broek thought the song was delightful and wrote in his letter of thanks to Diepenbrock: The depiction of the evening with which it opens immediately hits home, that’s it. (BD VI:16) He is referring to the organ point that lasts several measures in the left hand, combined with a slow rocking motion in a 12/8 metre in the right hand that prepares the entry of the voice (zart und geheimnisvoll). In order for the organ point to continue sounding, Diepenbrock added a footnote with the instruction: Please note, hit the bass notes of the organ point as many times as necessary, though never on a strong beat.

The second and fourth verses are much livelier. Diepenbrock expressively depicts the fish and birds described in the respective stanzas in his music. Hondius van den Broek especially admired the last verse, where the voice sings the final lines solemnly (Feierlich), full of faith and at full power:

"The end of the fourth strophe is beautiful: Gott der über alle wacht (God who watches over all), but the final strophe is the most delightful, the way you have incorporated the evening motive into it, which leads to the climax on Sicher ruhn (safely rest)."

As mentioned, the soprano Diepenbrock had in mind for Der Abend was Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius. In November 1906 she not only sang the solo part of Diepenbrock’s Hymne an die Nacht “Gehoben ist der Stein” (Hymn to the Night “Uplifted is the Stone”, RC 49) several times, but she also premiered the orchestrated version of the Lied der Spinnerin (Song of the Spinner, RC 75). At her recital of 5 January 1909 she gave the first performance of Der Abend in The Hague, alongside three other songs by Diepenbrock: Ik ben in eenzaamheid niet meer alleen (I Am No Longer Alone in Solitude, RC 41), Clair de lune (Moonshine, RC43) and again the Lied der Spinnerin (RC 42). Diepenbrock honoured Noordewier-Reddingius by dedicating Der Abend to her in the printed edition of 1910.

Diepenbrock completed the intended orchestration of Der Abend (see RC 92) in April 1910.

Désirée Staverman



Der Abend

Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn
In dem lieben, stillen Hain,
Sonne will schon schlafen gehn,
Läßt ihr goldnes Hemdelein
Sinken auf den grünen Rasen,
Wo die schlanken Hirsche grasen
In dem roten Abendschein.

In der Quellen klarer Flut
Treibt kein Fischlein mehr sein Spiel,
Jedes suchtet, wo es ruht,
Sein gewöhnlich Ort und Ziel,
Und entschlummert überm Lauschen
Auf der Wellen leises Rauschen
Zwischen bunten Kieseln kühl.

Schlank schaut auf der Felsenwand
Sich die Glockenblume um;
Denn verspätet über Land
Will ein Bienchen mit Gesumm
Sich zur Nachtherberge melden,
In den blauen, zarten Zelten,
Schlüpft hinein und wird ganz stumm.

Vöglein, euer schwaches Nest
Ist das Abendlied vollbracht
Wird wie eine Burg so fest.
Fromme Vöglein schützt zur Nacht
Gegen Katz und Marderkrallen,
Die im Schlaf sie überfallen,
Gott, der über alle wacht.

Treuer Gott, du bist nicht weit,
Dir vertraun wir ohne Harm
In der wilden Einsamkeit,
Wie in Hofes eitlem Schwarm.
Du wirst uns die Hütte bauen,
Daß wir fromm und voll Vertrauen
Sicher ruhn in deinem Arm.

 

The Evening

How softly the leaves blow
In the sweet and quiet grove,
The sun already seeks its rest
And lets its golden tunic
Sink onto the green lawns,
Where the slender deer graze
In the crimson evening light.

In the clear spring waters
The fish no longer play,
For all seek to rest
In their usual place,
Sleeping as they listen
To the soft murmur of the waves,
Cool between bright pebbles.

The slim campanula
Looks around on the cliffside.
A buzzing bee
Flies tardily around
In search of shelter for the night;
It slips into soft blue tents
And is completely silent.

Little birds, your flimsy nest
Is transformed by the song of the night
And becomes as strong as a fortress.
Pious little birds, may God who watches over all
Protect you at night
From the cats’ and martens’ claws
That might attack you whilst you sleep.

Faithful God, you are not far,
We trust in you and fear neither
The wild desert places
Nor the vain crowds at Court.
You will build a tabernacle for us,
That in pious trust
We may rest safe in your arms.

(transl. Peter Lockwood)

 

 

 


  • A-64(10) Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”), für hoher Sopran und Clavier

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7

    A-64(10) für hoher Sopran und Clavier dated on the last page 22 Aug – 11 Sept 1908 and with dedication on the first page Aan mijn vriend WG Hondius v/d Broek / A Diepenbrock 20 Sept 1908

    • 1908-08-22 00:00:00.0 – 1908-09-11 00:00:00.0
    • dedication: Aan mijn vriend WG Hondius v/d Broek / A Diepenbrock 20 Sept 1908
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 7
  • A-62(4) Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)

    semi-autograph A-62(4) with dedication on the first page Voor mijn lieve vriendin Jo / herinnering aan de heerlijke Octoberdagen 1908 and dated on the last page Augustus 1908

    • 1908-08-22 00:00:00.0 – 1908-09-11 00:00:00.0
    • dedication: Voor mijn lieve vriendin Jo / herinnering aan de heerlijke Octoberdagen 1908 and dated on the last page Augustus 1908
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • A-84 Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)

    semi-autograph A-84 from the possession of Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius, dated on the last page 1908

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown

  • click to enlarge

    Anniversary Edition 5

    cd Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD5
    Alexander, Roberta ♦ Jansen, Rudolf ♦ Nes, Jard van ♦ Holl, Robert ♦ Prégardien, Christoph ♦ Pfeiler, Christa ♦ Doeselaar, Leo van ♦ McFadden, Claron ♦ Kuyken, David

    Tracks: 1 = RC 3; 2 = RC 6; 3 = RC 11; 4 = RC 12; 5 = RC 16; 6 = RC 20; 7 = RC 25; 8 = RC 42; 9 = RC 55; 10 = RC 121; 11 = RC 90; 12 = RC 95; 13 = RC 91

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 2

    1993 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Staverman, Désirée
  • Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)

    1910 Noske, A.A.
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. I

    1951 Reeser, Eduard

5 jan 1909 Eerste uitvoering van Der Abend in Diligentia te 's-Gravenhage door Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius en Julius Röntgen. Van Diepenbrock worden ook uitgevoerd Ik ben in eenzaamheid niet meer alleen (RC 41), Clair de lune (RC 43) en Lied der Spinnerin (RC 42), voorts vier liederen van Hugo Wolf en vijf van Gustav Mahler. Diepenbrock woont het concert bij.

Diepenbrock vordert veel en gaat bijzondere wegen; niet overal kan men hem aanstonds volgen. Niet overal gevoel ik mij in sympathie met hem. Van Clair de lune (Verlaine) bewonder ik meer de kleur dan de gedachten; in het Lied der Spinnerin (Brentano) komt de muziek, hoe bekoorlijk ook van klank, mij voor de stof niet eenvoudig genoeg voor; in Sonnet (K. Alberdingk Thijm) en in Der Abend (Brentano) mis ik eenheid van stemming. Is die poging tot schildering in couplet 4 van Der Abend niet wat kinderachtig? Mevr. Noordewier zong de twee eerste vooral schier volmaakt, echt poëtisch.

Het Vaderland ([Dr. J. de Jong]), 6 januari 1909

pdf All reviews for RC 90 Der Abend (“Wie so leis’ die Blätter wehn”)