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RC 6 Der Fischer (“Das Wasser rauscht’, das Wasser schwoll”)

text source

Goethe’s Gedichte I (Stuttgart: J.G. Cotta 1868), 106-107

dedicatees

recordings

  • Anniversary Edition 5 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD5

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 10 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 3624412
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. I
  • Drie Ballades voor Tenoor met pianobegeleiding, Op. 1 Roothaan, Albert 30032109

  • Der Fischer (“Das Wasser rauscht’, das Wasser schwoll”)
  • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
  • tenor and piano
  • 1884-04-01 00:00:00.0 - 1884-04-30 00:00:00.0
  • duration 4:40

In June 1885 Th.J. Roothaan in Amsterdam published the Drie Ballades (Three Ballads) for tenor and piano by Alphons Diepenbrock. The composer, who was a student at the University of Amsterdam, was 23 years old and these were his first songs to appear in print: Entsagung (Renunciation, RC 3, Ludwig Uhland), written at the end of 1883, Der Fischer (The Fisherman) from April 1884 and Der Abend kommt gezogen (The Evening Falls, RC 11, Heinrich Heine), set to music in August of that year. Diepenbrock’s opus 1 was extensively reviewed in a cultural magazine: “In every respect the composer has succeeded in musically expressing the basic ideas of these three poems.” However, the critic believes that Diepenbrock should not allow himself to be too strongly influenced by the music of Richard Wagner: …more >

Der Fischer (incipit)


In June 1885 Th.J. Roothaan in Amsterdam published the Drie Ballades (Three Ballads) for tenor and piano by Alphons Diepenbrock. The composer, who was a student at the University of Amsterdam, was 23 years old and these were his first songs to appear in print: Entsagung (Renunciation, RC 3, Ludwig Uhland), written at the end of 1883, Der Fischer (The Fisherman) from April 1884 and Der Abend kommt gezogen (The Evening Falls, RC 11, Heinrich Heine), set to music in August of that year. Diepenbrock’s opus 1 was extensively reviewed in a cultural magazine: “In every respect the composer has succeeded in musically expressing the basic ideas of these three poems.” However, the critic believes that Diepenbrock should not allow himself to be too strongly influenced by the music of Richard Wagner:

Every now and then there is still too much uncertainty in it, here and there the composer appears to be undecided as to where he is heading and what he wants. Moreover, his individuality often gets lost in the admiration he displays of the master from Bayreuth. However, I trust that in future work the independence of the composer will come more to the fore.1

Der Fischer is dedicated to the in those days famous Dutch tenor Johan Rogmans. Like Heine’s Der Abend kommt gezogen (see RC 11), a text that Diepenbrock would set to music a few months later, Goethe’s poem is a so-called ‘Wasserfrauen-Gedicht’ (mermaid poem). The ballad about a fisherman who is ruined because he can’t resist the lure of a mermaid, offered the young composer plenty of scope for text expression. In an article in Key Notes of 1976 Eduard Reeser characterised the melodic phrase with which the piano opens this song as concentrating in a nutshell three characteristics of this composer. They are the leap of an octave, the triplet and the descending melodic line.2 As the opening motive is employed in the course of the composition to illustrate crucial moments in the text (e.g. “Hinauf in Todesglut” – Up here to this deadly glow), it can be called a fate motive. Although the song is through-composed, the structure of the poem is still recognisable thanks to the short interludes between the verses. Through the tempo – Anfangs ziemlich langsam, später bewegt – which becomes faster with every segment, the tension builds up towards the dramatic end. The main tempos regularly undergo refinements with small or larger ritenutos, displaying Diepenbrock’s desire for an almost continuous rubato.

Désirée Staverman

1 A. Lekman in De Portefeuille (7 November 1885), see BD V:782-784.

2 Eduard Reeser, ‘Some Melodic Patterns in the Music of Alphons Diepenbrock’, Key Notes 3/1 (1976), 16.

 



Das Wasser rauscht', das Wasser schwoll,
Ein Fischer saß daran,
Sah nach dem Angel ruhevoll,
Kühl bis ans Herz hinan.
Und wie er sitzt und wie er lauscht,
Teilt sich die Flut empor;
Aus dem bewegten Wasser rauscht
Ein feuchtes Weib hervor.

Sie sang zu ihm, sie sprach zu ihm:
"Was lockst du meine Brut
Mit Menschenwitz und Menschenlist
Hinauf in Todesglut?
Ach wüßtest du, wie's Fischlein ist
So wohlig auf dem Grund,
Du stiegst herunter, wie du bist,
Und würdest erst gesund!

Labt sich die liebe Sonne nicht,
Der Mond sich nicht im Meer?
Kehrt wellenatmend ihr Gesicht
Nicht doppelt schöner her?
Lockt dich der tiefe Himmel nicht,
Das feuchtverklärte Blau?
Lockt dich dein eigen Angesicht
Nicht her in ew'gen Tau?"

Ach wüßtest du, wie's Fischlein ist
So wohlig auf dem Grund,
Du stiegst herunter, wie du bist,
Und würdest erst gesund!

Das Wasser rauscht', das Wasser schwoll,
Netzt' ihm den nackten Fuß;
Sein Herz wuchs ihm so sehnsuchtsvoll,
Wie bei der Liebsten Gruß.
Sie sprach zu ihm, sie sang zu ihm;
Da war's um ihn geschehn:
Halb zog sie ihn, halb sank er hin,
Und ward nicht mehr gesehn.


  • SO-2

    autograph lost (see RC 3) ♦ copy of the 1885 edition with alterations by Diepenbrock

    • 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. 10

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

    1951 Reeser, Eduard
  • Drie Ballades voor Tenoor met pianobegeleiding, Op. 1

    1885 Roothaan, Albert