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RC 8 Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend

text source

Heinrich Heine, Buch der Lieder (Rotterdam: ** 1863), 174

dedicatees

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 10 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 19035109
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. I

  • Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend
  • Heine, Heinrich
  • soprano and piano
  • 1884-05-01 00:00:00.0 - 1884-05-31 00:00:00.0 | revised 1909-08-12 00:00:00.0
  • duration 3:00

On 17 March 1882, while Diepenbrock was in his second year at the University of Amsterdam, he suggested defending the proposition “Heine cannot be considered a perfect poet” to the members of the debating society UNICA. However, his fellow students gave him a different topic to discuss that day. (BD I:55) Thus, what Diepenbrock thought of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) back then has not been documented. Over a decade later, Diepenbrock made a similar comment about the German Romantic poet in a letter to Frederik van Eeden. He recalled “the small gem of a poem” Es sang vor langen Jahren (Many Years Ago There Sang, see RC 42) by Clemens Brentano, commenting: “I think this is more beautiful than all Heine put together.” (BD I:437) …more >

Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend (incipit)


On 17 March 1882, while Diepenbrock was in his second year at the University of Amsterdam, he suggested defending the proposition “Heine cannot be considered a perfect poet” to the members of the debating society UNICA. However, his fellow students gave him a different topic to discuss that day. (BD I:55) Thus, what Diepenbrock thought of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) back then has not been documented. Over a decade later, Diepenbrock made a similar comment about the German Romantic poet in a letter to Frederik van Eeden. He recalled “the small gem of a poem” Es sang vor langen Jahren (Many Years Ago There Sang, see RC 42) by Clemens Brentano, commenting: “I think this is more beautiful than all Heine put together.” (BD I:437)

Although Diepenbrock clearly did not think much to Heine’s poetry, he was to set three of his ballads to music. Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend  (In Twilight the Summer Evening Lies) dates from May 1884. He composed Der Abend kommt gezogen (The Evening Falls, RC 11) that same year and Es war ein alter König (There Was an Old King, RC 25) at the beginning of the summer of 1890.

In Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend Heine describes how dusk descends on woods and meadow, while a golden moon shines in the deep blue sky. Then he takes the reader to a stream where the crickets chirp and a wanderer to his surprise comes across a beautiful elf who is bathing herself. Her white arms and neck are illuminated by the moonshine. The ballad stops here; unlike in Goethe's Der Fischer (see RC 6) the encounter does not lead to the tragic death of the man who was overcome by the sight of a mermaid.

The text inspired Diepenbrock to compose a work with a lyrical vocal part, which often has large leaps, and a harmonically rich piano accompaniment. Diepenbrock wrote this song for his second cousin Christine Driessen in May 1884. Most likely her voice did not have the required range, because copy A-80(3), in which the song is transposed down a whole tone, was also made for her.

When Diepenbrock read through the composition again 25 years later, he was dissatisfied with it and said to Christine:

If I had been permitted, I would have gladly torn it up and returned it to you in an improved version. The song is quite nice, but technically it is very poor, due to the fact I had not received any musical training and the circumstance that, at the time, I did not know anybody who understood music and could advise me. (BD VI:134)

On 12 August 1909 he notated a revised version of the song in a sketchbook. He added six measures, extending the song to 41 measures, and adapted the melody of the voice to the declamation of the text. The harmony of the piano part of this version is more refined.

The song was not published during Diepenbrock’s lifetime. It will not have been sung outside the family; in any case, nothing is known about an official premiere.

Ton Braas



Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend
Über Wald und grünen Wiesen;
Goldner Mond, im blauen Himmel,
Strahlt herunter, duftig labend.

An dem Bache zirpt die Grille,
Und es regt sich in dem Wasser,
Und der Wandrer hört ein Plätschern
Und ein Atmen in der Stille.

Dorten, an dem Bach alleine,
Badet sich die schöne Elfe;
Arm und Nacken, weiß und lieblich,
Schimmern in dem Mondenscheine.

 


  • C-10(10) Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend

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

    (revised version) C-10(10) dated Laren 12 Aug 1909

    • 1909-08-12 00:00:00.0 – 1909-08-12 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 7
  • A-2 Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend

    A-2 with dedication and dated gecomponeerd voor mijne nicht Mejufr Christ. Driessen Mei 1884

    • 1884-05-01 00:00:00.0 – 1884-05-31 00:00:00.0
    • dedication: gecomponeerd voor mijne nicht Mejufr Christ. Driessen
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • A-80(3) Dämmernd liegt der Sommerabend

    copy A-80(3) (transposition of A-2 in the key of F major)

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 10

    1998 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Staverman, Désirée
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. I

    1951 Reeser, Eduard