Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2

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Strauss's response in his following works, the symphonic poem Till Eulenspiegel and the opera Feuersnot, was to satirise the whole issue of the artist's place within his society or culture. In the symphonic poem, Till's motifs run riot through the various episodes which depict the scenes of his life; he remains the focus at every point, while the settings of the market or the judgement scene appear as simple backcloths for the expression of his personality. He thus cannot be described as a heroic figure; he does not truly engage with his external circumstances.

His artistic self-expression shows itself to be both unfettered and unthreatening. Even Feuersnot, which is a more explicit tale of a young artist being isolated from his community for seeking to carry on his master's craft, betrays a sense of humorous artistic detachment. The story's crude symbolism of creative and sexual frustration is not allowed in any way to impede the development of a richly varied and satisfying Wagnerian orchestral texture. One is thus inclined to feel that the artist's hurt cannot be too serious, and that Strauss could have joined his powerful music to a more aspiring poetic text if he had wanted to.

Strauss's symphonic poem Fin Heldenleben carries hints of a similarly perverse message. If the opening music depicts the artist as 'hero', as the programme claims, then his creative power is immediately obvious and the 'critics" interruption of his symphonic flow is essentially selfinflicted. The eventual completion of the 'hero's' grandiose perfect cadence, interrupted at the end of the work's first section by the inconsequential whining of the 'critics', is never seriously in doubt; neither is the outcome of the struggle between the two parties in the later 'battle scene'.

Strauss is essentially offering his audience an expression of unchallengeable heroism, a somewhat shocking prospect given his comparison of the work with Beethoven's Eroica. One might feel as if having watched Shakespeare's Hamlet Strauss dared to offer an easy cartoon version of the same story. Contemporary audiences might have had some trouble distinguishing between the two versions of heroism; Romain Rolland describes how they would spring to their feet at performances of Heldenleben - 'the Germans have found their poet of Victory'.

It is assumed that he always intended the heroic figures in his works to portray aspects of his own personality; he certainly did much to reinforce such connections. However, his often ironic manipulation of the listener's responses makes one wonder whether there was not another 'artist-hero' working behind these images in Heldenleben, commenting through them to bring a subtler message. If so, then the 11 12 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance message is never made explicit, nor is it made necessary to the immediate enjoyment of the work. One may see Strauss's multiple ironies either as one of the most effective post-Wagnerian strategies in defence of the self, or as a potentially cowardly retreat into silence.

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The long-term appreciation of Strauss's artistic stance has certainly suffered from the willingness of audiences of the time to take most of his work entirely at face value. Arthur Seidl for one held Strauss up as the paradigmatic man of progress, successfully extending Wagner's technical innovations in immediate matters of harmonic and orchestral colour and melodic line. And provided one did not pay too much attention to the context in which Strauss placed such innovations, then one might imagine that he was still advocating the Bayreuth path - the steady and unquestioned extension of Wagner's musical style.

The unavoidable shock for audiences came with Salome, the opera which followed Feuersnot, for even the most spiritually shortsighted could not fail to notice that an eloquent extension of the language of Isolde's 'Liebestod' had now somehow become caught up in a nightmare of severed heads and obsessive lust. It was as though having flirted with images of himself as Wagner's successor, Strauss now accepted the full impact of Nietzsche's warnings against the contaminating influence of Wagner's style and opted for a much more radical denial of Wagner's world-view. For in Salome quasi-Wagnerian love music is unequivocally identified with sickness and decadence, and with false emotional fulfilment.

The message of Salome remains intact even in the far softer emotional climate of Strauss's later opera Der Rosenkavalier, as Octavian and the Marschallin make indulgent and overblown references to Tristan and Isolde's love music in the opera's opening scene. Such exaggerated musical dialogue is shown to evaporate in the light of day and when faced by Baron Ochs's earthy view of sensuality. In the lyrical trio at the climax of the opera, the language of Wagnerian passion is frozen into song-like strophes and dramatically consigned to the past, while the future belongs to the folklike simplicity of Octavian and Sophie's duet.

It is difficult not to associate this final trio with the composer's own relinquishing of Wagnerian illusions. For though his following operas rekindled aspects of the Wagnerian style, they continued to be identified dramatically with a mood of lyrical nostalgia, and with ideas of dream or wish-fulfilment. As with Mahler, the final outcome of Strauss's work adds many ironies to the label 'secessionist'; his revolutionary steps forward brought him back to a lyrical contemplation of the Wagnerian style, though now recognised as belonging to the past.

Nietzsche himself doubted whether there were actually any positive stylistic alternatives to the Wagnerian sickness; all that was left to composers perhaps were various kinds of denial. He later admitted that his advocacy of Bizet's Carmen in The Case of Wagner, holding it out as the evocation of an entirely different musical style and spirit, was not meant to be taken as a realistic alternative to Wagnerian music drama, but more as a polemical gesture.

Nietzsche confessed that, for him, 'Wagner sums up modernity. There is no way out, one must first become a Wagnerian. For although Nietzsche inveighed against the deception practised by Wagner, 'the lie of the great style', 43 he never actually showed directly how the lie might be countered and the elements of the musical language reassembled to create ' truth'. Nietzsche's assumption was that a composer was powerless once he came too near to Wagner, a suggestion reinforced by both Mahler's and Strauss's tactics of separation.

Their tactics certainly brought them success in the big public genres of the opera and symphony. They could not lightly be accused of artistic escapism, or of retiring into musical miniatures like the song-composer Hugo Wolf. One might say indeed that Wolf with his songs had chosen the easiest medium for winning any struggle for musical integrity - in Nietzsche's words: What can be done well today, what can be masterly, is only what is small. Here alone integrity is still possible. Yet there was also the possibility of objectivity, for the composer was in one sense following the lead of the poet and thus could distance himself from the musical language of the song.

Strauss's multiple ironies were here acknowledged aspects of the genre, to be exploited without raising constant reflections upon the stance of the composer himself. Wolf could offer himself inconspicuously as a seemingly neutral observer of the scene, picking up different aspects of Wagner's style and its poetic associations and exploring them for the course of a single song before moving on to others.

Within the Lied, the demands of personal authorship for stylistic and aesthetic consistency could be set against the given nature of the genre in a more precise way than in symphony or opera, and Wolf made a point of emphasising the attention due to the poet and to the formal limits of song. Thus Wolf was able to offer his listeners the contradictions of simple folk-like songs with Wagnerian undertones, or extremes of Wagnerian chromaticism in finely shaped and closed formal structures - a seemingly endless variety of formal and stylistic mixtures.

Hans von Wolzogen confessed himself quite bewildered in his review of the Morike Lieder, Wolf's first mature songbook. He tried to describe for his readers how Wolf could switch from: the cheerfully teasing, simple robust tunes of German folksong. He likened the experience of Wolf's music to being in a small boat, driven by impetuous waves; yet he believed one must trust the boat for it led to Morike.

He only betrayed reservations when he realised the enthusiasm for Wolf as the 'new Schubert' as well as 'Wagner of the Lied' was in danger of placing him too high in the listeners' popularity. Wolf's success then as now was usually accredited to his happy choice of genre, allowing him, as in popular images of Schubert, to seem to sleepwalk his way through the complexities of the musical culture surrounding him. However, such images belie the gargantuan struggle which actually attended Wolf's relation to Wagner and the Wagnerians. As we shall see, while remainingfinanciallyand socially dependent on Wagnerian circles in Vienna, Wolf experienced his own Nietzschean battle, struggling to come to grips in his own way with the mixture of illusion and reality in Wagner's music dramas.

Much of this could not be admitted openly for fear of his losing the Wagnerians' artistic support, but he continued to explore aspects of the question through the various songbooks, from the Morike volume to the Michelangelo songs. And this was the way in which Wolf's relation to the Wagnerian inheritance differed most strongly from Mahler's and Strauss's.

For unlike them he worked directly with the details of Wagner's style, exploring his language of illusion and reconsidering it within more definite tonal frames. As will be seen, the resulting twists and turns of musical expectation within a song provided Wolf with one of his most powerful poetic resources; as Wolzogen said, Wolf used musical surprises to lead his listener to the poet. However, his explorations also represented some of the most potent criticisms of Wagner's music and the claims made for it.

It was crucial to Wolf's achievements that he had his own access to the Classical tradition that Wagner had sought to appropriate, and this grounding he certainly gained from song. But the image of neutrality that he assumed by working through the Lied should not mask the significance of his critical achievements. Songs are as much an artistic statement as symphonies and operas, though Wolf had tofighthard for this to be recognised; and Wolf's songs can be interpreted as vital fuel for his Wagnerian critique, which in turn was the means for his renewal of the Lied. Wolf's importance as a Wagnerian critic should not indeed be underestimated, for the history of the Wagnerian inheritance suggests that a critic from within is precisely what was most needed.

Only by composers facing out the prospect of stylistic contamination, as Nietzsche would have it, and recognising any illusions at their musical source could Wagner's legacy begin to be seen in complete perspective, open for reclaiming and reworking in as many ways as possible. Chapter two 'Wagner of the Lied'?

Wolf as critic of Wagner and Wagnerism When Wolf first made his impact as a writer on circles in Vienna in the s it was as an eccentric music critic for the Sunday newspaper Wiener Salonblatt. It was not exactly the impact he would have wished for; Brahms recounts how he would wait for each issue of the paper with relish to see what lunacies the young man would come up with next.

But Wolf's eyes were on a larger cause than the sale of popular newspapers - he was seeking to serve the cause of Wagnerism and Hugo Wolf. The two had become closely associated in his mind during his first years in Vienna a decade earlier, his need for self-promotion fanning his early Wagnerian enthusiasm into something bordering on fanaticism. When Wagner visited Vienna in 18 75, Wolf ran after his coach wherever it went and stood in the lobby of Wagner's hotel until he was allowed to show the master some of his compositions.

Wolf's initial Wagnerian enthusiasm was the more remarkable since he then knew little of the music dramas themselves.

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As Wolf himself said: 'I conceived an irresistible inclination towards Richard Wagner, without having yet formed any conception of his music' It was his reputation as the 'great Master of Tone. Six months earlier Wolf had been almost persuaded to give up his own musical career altogether, 'since I see that a musician is a wholly contemptible person in your eyes'.

After a performance of Gotterddmmerung he was found in tears, inveighing against the bitter fate which had made him a musician after such a composer and saying: 'One thing I can do which Wagner was not able to - starve! Susan Youens has recently shown the extent to which Wolf served out his song apprenticeship from 'under the sign of Schumann', returning again and again to the texts of Heine, the poet most associated with Schumann, and then having to struggle to rid himself of stylistic resemblances that were too close.

Thus while the composer's response to Schumann seemed like an involuntary possession, his relationship with Wagner followed a different pattern. As will be seen later, in the Morike songs Wolf laid out different aspects of Wagner's style in a quite systematic fashion, moulding and directing them to create distinctive and unexpected results. Here Wolf can be seen to use references to Wagnerian features as part of a conscious act of criticism and self-definition, a declaration of artistic power and independence. However, Wolf must have known that there was little chance that the Morike songs would be recognised as such an achievement by the public.

Song was seen as being a dependent genre by its very nature, relying on associations with the past, with poetry or with other genres to achieve its artistic significance. Certainly a composer would not be able to make his living from just writing songs, unless perhaps he were prepared to lower his sights and pander to the tastes of the domestic or salon market. If he wished to succeed with the wider concert-going public then he needed to borrow from the genres of symphony or opera. So one finds Wolf, like many other song composers of the time, engaged in expanding his songs into orchestral or choral versions, ready to attract the notice of a wider audience and to gain prestige for himself.

Thus Wolf found himself embroiled in conflicts with Wagner and Wagnerism not in the sense offightingfor an inner identity, but through the circumstance of feeling he needed to adopt the outer mantle of Wagner for artistic prestige. Once, when he had uttered a particularly rude remark about Wagner to his friend Emil Kauffmann, Wolf came near to admitting that he lived a kind of double life: Wagner's excesses degrade one into a worm.

However you must not think that I have suddenly joined the anti-Wagnerians, an event which I have earnestly to guard against, if only to justify my own artistic existence. The strains of keeping to any kind of Wagnerian identity became obvious later in Wolf's career, but even in the early years of the Salonblatt criticisms, to , there were signs that he was acting a part. His notorious reviews of Brahms's music were the most obvious examples of inflated partisanship. Wolf was later ashamed of his imaginative excesses and even admitted to his friend Edmund Hellmer that he liked some of Brahms's works.

One year previously, Wolf had been enthusiastic about attending a performance of Brahms's First Symphony and had also approached Hanslick, the most powerful of Brahms's supporters, for an opinion of his music. Even after the fateful visit of Wolf followed up some of Brahms's and Hanslick's suggestions, enquiring about the possibility of lessons with Nottebohm and of having his work published by Simrock.

Both of these projects failed, and it may have been the sense that all doors to the Brahms circle were shut which encouraged Wolf to throw in his lot so publicly with the Wagnerians. Certainly once the reviews from the Salonblatt began to emerge, with their lampoons of Brahms as a composer of a 'deadtired fantasy [running] the gauntlet between "can't do" and "wish I could" ' , n Wolf was treated as a 'non-person' by the established music critics of Vienna.

Richter made no efforts to control the orchestra as it mangled the difficult score; in the midst of the cacophony he said loudly enough for all to hear - 'and this is the man who dares to criticise Brahms! Heinrich Werner, Wolf's close friend, described how the Wagnerians believed that the young composer was suffering from the critics on Wagner's behalf and therefore deserved their support.

However, there is little sign that he was satisfied with their efforts. Werner confirms that the Viennese Wagner Society acted as a Hugo Wolf Society in as much as was compatible with its nature. As Schur wrote: In [Wolf's] opinion the Society did not offer him what he felt he had the right to demand from his friends. Namely, the unconditional single-minded devotion to him and his work. As he once complained of the Wagner Societies, Anything that is not tied up with an umbilical chord to Wagner does not exist for them and anyone who wants to loose himself from it is decried as an apostate.

Even in the Salonblatt reviews the latter manifested itself, sometimes in unexpected ways. For example his judgements on performance drew on standards other than Wagner's one of being true to the demands of a poetic text or of emotional expression. He would sometimes refer to absolute musical boundaries in a way which seemed to owe more to Hanslick's ideas of the 'purely musical': Is art served, or can the publicfindrefreshment when, for example, cellist X seeks effects on his instrument appropriate to the piccolo, or when violinist Y tries to imitate on his E string the rough voice of the double bass, or when a contralto reaches for the high C and a soprano for the low G, not to speak of pianists?

Things can hardly be madder in a lunatic asylum than in a concert hall. According to Ernest Newman he once said: 'The true test of a composer is this, - can he exult? Wagner can exult; Brahms cannot. Elsewhere he advised a song-writer that he must always compose in 'cool blood' if he were to succeed in setting down his excited feelings.

However, the Salonblatt reviews confirm that the roots were there from , so that later disagreements with the Wagnerians cannot be seen as merely brought on by pique at his not receiving the attention he felt he deserved. Werner once suggested that Wolf's remarks about Wagner's music degrading one into a worm were 'just the expression of momentary outbursts', a sign that even before the onset of his madness in Wolf suffered bouts of mental instability. The composer's most significant 'outburst' occurred in when some students used a performance of his song Heimweh Homesickness to mount a nation- 'Wagner of the Lied'?

As they three times interrupted the song's closing bars with loud applause, Wolf stormed out of the Wagner Society declaring he would never come back. In his subsequent letter to Josef Schalk he argued through the reasons for his departure and said the rewards of publicity could not compensate him for the conflicts and trials he experienced in the Society: The devil of vanity and inordinate ambition will not catch me by the forelock again, you can depend on that.

I am no senseless Mohammed to propagate my things withfireand sword, and none of my friends shall lose a single hair on my account. Let each seek to win through on his own account; each one has enough to do to look after himself. So let's have no more apostles! He was persuaded to return a month later, but the protective wall which according to Werner Schalk had built around the composer had shown its frailty and the relationship between them grew much less close.

Wolf still respected Schalk, still turning to him for criticism of his work at various points in his later life, but any remnant of Schalk's vision of the Wagner Society as an enlightened artistic brotherhood had dissolved in the composer's eyes under the experience of 'being made the object of the silliest judgments from sundry unwashed mouths'.

But he did begin to seek a different public identity, one distinct from Wagner and the Wagnerians. The cry 'so let's have no more apostles! He would often quote the philosopher's aphorisms, for example 'I listened for an echo and only heard praise' 29 and 'Praise is more troublesome than blame. The philosopher's enthusiastic championship of Carmen found an echo in Wolf's own admiration for Bizet. He also shared Nietzsche's passion for Chopin, one which had embroiled him in many arguments with Schalk and others of the Wagner Society for whom Chopin remained 'undeutsch' and a 'Salonmusiker'.

Like Nietzsche Wolf gloried in Chopin's 'aristocratic refinement', seeing such qualities reflected in the philosopher's own prose style. According to Eckstein, the 'glitzernd-leuchtende Sprache' radiantly glittering language of The Case of Wagner almost cast a spell on 19 20 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance Wolf;33 he would later describe Wagner's language by contrast as 'long-winded and tapeworm-like'.

Eckstein recounts how Wolf insisted on identifying the composer who the philosopher thought was the only person capable of writing an overture 'all in one piece' and deserving to be placed above Wagner. When Eckstein eventually traced the reference to Peter Gast's Der Lowe von Venedig, Wolf asked him how on earth one could make sense of the philosopher's idolisation of such a worthless piece of music. However, far from undermining Nietzsche's appeal, his uncertain musical credentials left Wolf free to apply the philosophy in his own fashion without feeling the need to relinquish anything of his musical leadership to the philosopher.

Thus although Wolf often came near to quoting The Case of Wagner as he described the kind of opera he wished to write, he was very far from finding an actual blueprint there for his new style of comic opera. Like Nietzsche, Wolf believed in a Mediterranean atmosphere of 'strumming guitars, sighs of love, moonlit nights, champagne carousals' as a healthy antidote to Wagnerian music drama and an escape from the 'sombre world-redeeming spectre of a Schopenhauerian philosophy in the background'.

Der Corregidor, Wolf's setting of Alarcon's novel El Sombrero de tres Picos, finally appeared in , but he had been planning a Spanish comic opera since Two of the Spanish songs were eventually incorporated into Der Corregidor and a further two were planned for inclusion in Manuel Venegas, Wolf's setting of Alarcon's El Nino de la Bola, left unfinished at his death. Thus Wolf harboured plans for an alternative kind of opera well before he read The Case of Wagner, and continued to explore aspects of his ideas in his songs while searching for a suitable libretto. For a while none of the librettos offered, including the Rosa Mayreder text which he eventually used for Der Corregidor, seemed to Wolf worthy of his intentions.

His operatic ambitions and plans were in danger of dwindling away - fuelled by dissatisfaction with Wagner and encouraged by identification with Nietzsche, but incapable of realisation. One can readily understand how as the years passed the wish to write an opera became for Wolf a test of his credibility as a composer.

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  • His decision in 5 to return to the rejected Mayreder libretto, after four years of artistic stagnation, seems like an act of desperation - a conscious decision to avoid further prevarication and plunge into composition as though the problems of matching text to music did not exist. The 'Wagner of the Lied'? Often ignoring the need for an overall shape or direction, Wolf tended to approach each parcel of text as its own entity, so creating a musical patchwork of disjointed scenes and small bursts of action.

    As an opera Der Corregidor is desperately flawed, yet, taken as it is, it still offers a fascinating insight into the nature of Wolf's musical and dramatic instincts, and their often distinctly anti-Wagnerian bias. It also offers a most unusual view of human character and its relation to dramatic narrative, showing Wolf questioning the basic Romantic supposition that character controls destiny.

    For in Der Corregidor Wolf does not sustain consistent dramatic personalities across the piecemeal arrangement of scenes. Instead he allows his characterisations to shift with each new situation, to create, intentionally or unintentionally, an almost impersonal play of circumstances. Indeed, with the composer giving his attention to adapting song frameworks to a broader flow of action, he creates a new emphasis upon dramatic context which can be seen to have psychological ramifications well beyond immediate questions of style and technique.

    As one might expect, as a compositional starting-point Wolf grasped every possible opportunity in the libretto for an occasional song, any occasion when one might suppose a character to be literally singing, whether the Nightwatchman calling the hours, Frasquita singing at her spinning-wheel or entertaining a guest, or the Corregidor singing to cheer himself up; for these last two situations Wolf even managed to incorporate two of the songs from his Spanish songbook, In dem Schatten meiner Locken and Herz, verzage nicht geschwind.

    From his letters it is clear that Wolf began his composition of the opera at one such obvious point, Tio Lukas's drinkingsong in Act II scene 8. Wolf must have considered this 'song' a good entry into the dramatic action of the opera, since with this music the hero Lukas tricks his captors, the Corregidor's henchmen, into thinking he is drunk so that he can escape back to his wife Frasquita and protect her from the Corregidor's wiles. The sense of confusion about where the drinking-song begins and ends is thus a good depiction of drunkenness, as well as an example of how to adapt the closed structures of song to a more open dramatic pacing.

    The opera is indeed full of attempted extensions and links, to the extent that it is often hard to distinguish the important musical landmarks from the smaller-scale signposts. Even when one extended song-structure seems to have been superseded by some new material, Wolf often links this back into the previous framework, so that it is revealed as simply another extension. Thus in Act I scene 4 the material of Frasquita's 'song' to entertain the Corregidor In dem Schatten spreads its tentacles far beyond the original song. In its unextended state the Lied already makes much play of shifting tonal and rhythmic perspectives, as the singer mocks her bemused lover.

    The orchestra is given a prominent motif, a Spanish fandango figure, which sometimes helps outline a clear four-bar phrasing and sometimes is extended into ostinato 21 22 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance Example 2. The balancing pauses - as with the words 'Week' ich ihn nun auf? But these pauses are often linked to harmonic sequences of rising thirds, suggesting such peace might be illusory and the singer should not be trusted see Example 2.

    In the song, taken by itself, the precise close renders further answers unnecessary. The emotional ambiguity has been fully captured through Wolf's refinement of the motivic material, just as the poem uses the image of the woman's hair to blend inextricably ideas of loving protection with those of deadly entanglement.

    In the opera the questions of motivation surrounding In dem Schatten cannot be so easily dismissed, and as the Corregidor joins Frasquita and adds to her closing phrase, the boundaries between the song and the circumstances in which she sings it become blurred. The Corregidor clearly wishes to believe that the 'sleeping lover' of the song can be identified with Frasquita's husband Lukas, dozing in the arbour above them, and he hopes that in singing so mockingly of Lukas Frasquita is now ready to try her seductive powers elsewhere.

    He whispers his further conclusion in the direct style of In dem Schatten - 'Lass ihn schlafen, lass ihn ruhn' Let him sleep, let him rest - and then hastens to introduce his own contrasting material whose passionate mood cannot be in doubt see Example 2. However, the Corregidor's bid to exert control over the scene is soon undermined by seeping returns to the fandango rhythms of Example 2. One might say that the Corregidor, having blurred the boundaries of Frasquita's song, had played into her hands, allowing the tone of ironic dialogue to continue and spill over into his own efforts at love-making.

    Even in his first passionate outburst of Example 2. Example 2. Fras- qui-ta, h harp- pten Sinn doch so was in dei-nen Feu - er - bli-cken mag den mann-lich ma- gisch mir be - stricken? As his eloquence is tested, the orchestral punctuation becomes more pronounced, finally emerging in a fully-fledged ostinato motif see Example 2.

    The rising mediant shifts every two bars and the teasing chromatic slides of Example 2. Frasquita is here asking the Corregidor to find an appointment for her nephew in return for her love, and it is clear she is teasing him, just as the speaker of In dem Schatten teased her sleeping lover. A simple analysis of Wolf's musico-dramatic strategy in this scene would be that he wishes to show Frasquita wielding a stylistic and formal power through song, while the Corregidor helplessly attempts a more open-ended discourse.

    His love-making and his magisterial authority lead him nowhere, despite their immediate impressiveness. However, looked at in the broader context for this interaction, Frasquita cannot be credited with taking a particular initiative when singing In dem Schatten. The song is woven into the general fabric of the opera by another set-piece, an introductory Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance 24 Example 2.

    And this dance is preceded in its turn by a set-piece 'song' from Repela, the Corregidor's pretentious servant. Unusually in the opera, this 'song' is not extended; it is the most obviously closed scene of the opera. The self-contained eight-bar introduction is repeated four times as part of a definite ternary structure, even though Repela apes his master's wandering declamatory phrasing and engages in conversational dialogue with Frasquita.

    His exaggerated rhyming cadences appear strikingly mannered and self-conscious see Example 2. Every time Repela appears in the opera he is accompanied by similarly exaggerated song styles, casting an ironic light on all around him, Frasquita included. In Act III scene 2, when Frasquita isfleeingfrom the Corregidor through the dark, she stumbles upon Repela and ends up singing a tripping duet with him, which can only seem bizarre in such circumstances.

    Yet it becomes clear from looking at Repela's role as a whole that his use of song styles is not actually a display of his power or control over others, but rather a recognition of the game they are all involved in, whether they like it or not. Wolf's friends disliked the cynicism that emanated from this servant and advised the composer to cut him out of the opera altogether. But Wolf replied that Repela was his favourite character; not that he gave him a moral superiority over the faithful and sorely tested husband and wife, Lukas and Frasquita, but that he represented a clear-sightedness nearest to Wolf's own in his efforts at dramatic characterisation.

    For in refusing to take up in Der Corregidor a transcendent view of character as inherent in Wagnerian music drama, Wolf let all the human frailties and ambiguities appear, even in his 'hero' Lukas. It is highly significant that Lukas isfirstpresented, in Act I scene 1, in interaction with a neighbour, one whom Wolf described as summing up all that was small-minded in human society. Lukas 1. It functions as a simple buildingblock in the song-framework, much like the fandangofigurein Example 2. When a varied version of this repeatedfigurereturns at the end of Act I scene 2 the 'Lukas motif is replaced by the 'Corregidor motif, without much change being registered see Example 2.

    In Act I scene 1 Lukas is not distinguished in tone from his envious neighbour; he falls in with the balanced phrases and ternary structure, obvious formal patterns which are rounded off with a simple and dismissive close. As Frasquita enters at the beginning of scene 2, one might imagine that she would take the level of conversation in the opera to a new intensity.

    The rhythmic buildingblocks from scene 1 are extended into a new song-framework. But this is a 'song' to 25 26 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance Example 2.

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    TUMI iff! Indeed the rhythmic patterns of Example 2. Lukas begins to stretch the vocabulary of the musical dialogue with rhythmic and modulatory extensions, preparing for a passionate embrace with his wife at the climax of the scene. Yet the textural and registral expansion at this point does not prevent the rhythmic markings of Example 2. And in fact this scene closes soon afterwards in the exact manner of scene 1, so that the two phases of the action are effectively superimposed; one has the sense that the characters are still engaged in going through the formalities with each other, in a well-rehearsed game which always ends up following the same pattern.

    It is against the background of these two scenes that Repela makes his entry in scene 3 and performs his exaggeratedly formal set-piece, as an ironic commentary on those around him. As already discussed, Frasquita uses song-patterns to draw obvious rings around the Corregidor. But Wolf has succeeded in raising an unsettling question about whether she is truly any more in control of the 'game' than the Corregidor himself.

    When at the climax of his attempted seduction in scene 4 the Corregidor falls off his stool, the orchestra steadies the previous rhythmic momentum with a further return to Example 2. And from this point, as might seem inevitable, this much extended scene is drawn back towards the same cheerfully inconsequential music that closed scenes 1 and 2. Sehr ruhig. However, such formal objectivity has its chilling aspect too, suggesting that Frasquita and Lukas's expressions of love in Act I scene 2 might also be lightly dismissed.

    Their love music in Act II scene 1 provides a rather welcome contrast. For though beginning with Example 2. With such emphasis upon the melodic moment, Wolf allows a new temporal space to invade the opera.

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    When Example 2. Ein-ge-schrie-be-ner Example 2. However, the suggestion now remains that there might be another perspective to the dramatic action, beyond Repela's cynicism. This perspective is addressed directly in the emotional crisis of the opera, Act III scene 3, where Lukas, having escaped from Tonuelo and his drunken crew, returns to his mill to see through the keyhole the Corregidor asleep in his own bed.

    Without realising that Frasquita has already safely fled the scene, he believes his world to be in ruins. Parts of previous exchanges come back to him, as disordered echoes and song-reminiscences lapsing, unusually, into silence. It is followed eventually by the more patterned figures of Example 2. It is only when these figures begin to be seen against the larger backdrop of the third and fourth scenes of Act III as a whole that a sense of direction emerges.

    For Example 2. On its second appearance it is again followed by Example 2. Such a motivic statement as Example 2. Ja aries, suggesting that all the 'games' arefinallyover perhaps, and the Corregidor has won. However, once silence has again intervened, Example 2. The impressive motif which now appears is associated with the Corregidor's wife, Mercedes, and is conceived throughout the opera as a monumental block-like statement, similar in rhythmic simplicity to Example 2.

    These mediant-style progressions, while striking in themselves, direct forwards to the point of resolution in a new version of 'Lukas's motif in a way that is decisive for the scene and the opera as a whole. The repetitivefigureswhich spring up from the moment of cadence in bar 10 of Example 2. This pair of scenes in Act III is indeed the largest of the opera's dramatic structures. It is measured out in a deliberate fashion which exceeds the scale of the earlier conversational dialogues. Yet, as the manner of its rounding off confirms, this structure still holds to the styles and shape of song.

    Lukas cannot escape the 'games' set up by his fellows, nor in the end does he wish to; rather, he turns them to his own advantage. At the end of scene 4 he dons the Corregidor's clothes, in a spirit of farce as well 30 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance as revenge. From this point the opera rushes towards its conclusion with no more moments of reflection upon the seriousness of the action or its consequences. But now the song-material has been stretched to its furthest point in Act III scenes 3 and 4, there is a greater sense of meaning in the patterns which follow.

    They reflect the assurance that comes from Lukas's discovery of an answer to the Corregidor's threats, in the person of his wife Mercedes. Her music, while being in some ways part of the 'game' observed by Repela, also marks its limit, the textural and harmonic extreme which pulls the material back to resolution and containment.

    Mercedes's motif performs this function most clearly at the end of the opera where she leads in the final chorus of simple thanksgiving, all agreeing that thanks to her the various 'adventures' surrounding her husband have ended without harm. We might echo some of the bemusement of the Corregidor, who still wishes to know what exactly happened when Lukas entered Mercedes's bedroom to exact his revenge, and how all the threats and counter-threats have come to be resolved. Yet Mercedes is undoubtedly right to refuse any direct answers. The 'game', as portrayed by Wolf, has had its own momentum and cannot be easily summarised; it is enough that we can accept that it has come to an end.

    Much of the detail of the opera has to remain ambiguous in its quickly shifting moods, between mockery and passion. In Wolf's songs such subtlety and ambiguity have always been greatly appreciated, but in Der Corregidor they created a huge barrier to the performance and reception of the work. Wolf refused to accept any restraint upon his imagination and to adapt to the slower, simpler pace of scenic action.

    Like Nietzsche, he despised the coarser gestures which were the usual vocabulary of the theatre. After the music of Der Corregidor wasfinishedmany of his friends were indeed dismayed by his lack of interest in the opera's theatrical presentation; Wolf said such things were the business of the librettist. Indeed the musical language of the opera was so detailed that the composer faced producers and performers with insurmountable problems.

    The singers at the first performance had great difficulty sustaining the vocal precision Wolf required, never mind the problems of timing their physical actions to the music. Given such practical evidence one might believe that Wolf's vision of a radical alternative to Wagnerian music drama was indeed unrealisable.

    However, he did succeed in substantiating his criticism of Wagner in his opera, offering contrasts which could not be passed off among his contemporaries as resulting from the change of genre from music drama to song. Karl Heckel, a friend and publisher of Wolf's, pointed out how antipathetic the composer had proved to be to the 'powerful pathos' of Wagner's music.

    Wolf was striving for the light step' Nietzsche so longed for from musicians, holding back the immediate expressive power of his music with a 'powerful and noble control of form'. However, another of Wolf's friends, Edmund Hellmer, also spoke in Nietzschean terms of the epigrammatic nature of Wolf's opera, his successful avoidance of all moral didacticism and his overriding objectivity: He doesn't stand in the middle of the mood and its emotion, he stands above it. This is why his music gives the impression of being absolute, pure, healthy.

    It is perhaps the 'Joyful Knowledge', the cheerful spirituality which Nietzsche demanded from music. He left in protest when these comments appeared at the head of a series of essays on Der Corregidor published by the Hugo Wolf Society in The newly formed Wolf Society acknowledged the role which the Wagner Society had played but sought to distance itself from any Wagnerian propaganda. For example the singer Ferdinand Jager was not invited to become a member despite having been so strongly associated with Wolf's music in the past.

    The new society felt the Wagnerian style of his performances failed to bring out the melodic qualities of the songs and distorted the public's view of them. His personality always attracted controversy and the society wished to allow the focus to fall upon his music, to let it speak for itself in all its subtlety. For in the view of Michael Haberlandt, the Wolf Society's chairman, Wolf's music never imposed itself on an audience in 'flashy effects'.

    In its 'deep inwardness it holds back like Cordelia and scorns to speak in the open market-place'. Yet the comparisons with Cordelia are perhaps a little overdone. In song, as in opera, Wolf was quite prepared to challenge any Wagnerian assumptions openly as well as subtly. And although the genre of the Lied was not always considered of the greatest critical significance at the time, with hindsight one can see that attitudes to song actually played a highly important role in the make-up of Wagnerian music drama and its influence.

    Thus far from shying away from the mainstream of musical ideas as some have thought, Wolf continued to place himself at the centre, eventually revealing song as a most fertile battleground for a critic of Wagner like himself. He once said that he even regretted the popularity his songs received because it implied he was incapable of composing anything larger. The composer would inveigh against concert organisers bypassing his 'small things' in favour of 'greater riches', 2 believing that like Josef Schalk - who created a furor by performing Wolf's songs with Beethoven orchestral music in one of the Viennese Wagner Society's concerts - they should be prepared to go against the tide of common opinion.

    Indeed several critics joined Wolf in warning audiences, composers and performers of the dangers of valuing musical size and stylistic effect over subtler matters of spiritual content. Max Graf, for one, believed that it was 'psychological effects, unseen affinities, which more than any other aesthetic values, should identify an artist as modern'.

    The title of the opening number of Wolf's last major songbook, the Italian songs Auch kleineDinge konnen uns entzucken Small things can also enchant us - certainly reads like a declaration of artistic intent. Many of the Paul Heyse translations of anonymous Italian folk-poems which Wolf chose to set here are notable for their concern with various aspects of 'smallness'. Thus the composer selected those poems which conform to the restricted six or eight-line structure of the popular Italian rispetto, offering a personal view of life through the expression of a single poetic idea or conceit.

    The ideas themselves are also often not profound but 'small' in scope, 32 Small things can also enchant us arising from the circumstances of everyday life as felt by ordinary people. Any intensity comes from the almost obsessive focus upon a particular detail, the observation of something small which then becomes the carrier of feeling, whether a detail of the beloved's appearance - her hair, her glance, her proud walk - or a detail of conversation or behaviour.

    The narrowness of the Italian poems' emotional content has made some people question why Wolf chose to set these texts at all. The contrast between them and the greater psychological depth of the better-known Morike or Goethe songs, or even the Spanish songs, is certainly striking. However if Wolf's concern was indeed to reveal the beauty and power hidden in 'small things', then his choice of the Italian poems makes complete sense. Even the overlapping of the composition of these songs with the opera Der Corregidorfitsinto a clear artistic intention.

    For as already discussed, in the opera Wolf chose to avoid the development of an expansive emotional content, instead using song-structures to control and hold back the emotional temperature of the work.

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    • In the opera Wolf's ironic impulse to stand outside the drama and pathos of a scene and to hold them within small-scale patterns was certainly taken to unexpected lengths. And in the Italian songs the same uncompromising view of time was at work. The sense of close-working symmetries directing and controlling the musical expression is present throughout each song. Thus at the beginning of Auch kleine Dinge, decorative semiquavers in the piano prelude circle around single pitches, pitches which the lower part resolves into triadic configurations surrounding the tonic A see Example 3. The sense of pattern expands from the single beat, to the harmonic pull of the one-bar and then two-bar units.

      Once the four-bar unit is outlined with chromatic movements towards bar 5 and the arrival on A major at the entry of the voice, the enclosing shape of the song is fully established. Each subsequent four-bar phrase retraces the arrival back on A; the descending scale in the bass, moving in parallel thirds with the right hand's semiquavers, reinforces the continuing pull to the tonic.

      The sense of imminent closure in this song is far more literal than in any of the scenes from Der Corregidor, partly because of the difference in genre.

      Pamela Coburn & Hermann Prey: Hugo Wolf - Italienisches Liederbuch

      The knowledge that the musical close will be followed by the boundary of silence gives a quite different perspective to a song's insistence upon the tonic. It becomes the absolute defining goal for the song instead of being an intermediate point of reference as in the opera. Within the enclosing symmetries of phrase and key in Auch kleine Dinge, any hesitations of rhythm and harmony acquire a magnified existence, as one listens for any possibilities of expansion beyond the four-bar phrase. In the prelude the right and left hands of the piano entertain a dialogue about where the main rhythmic stress falls, on the first and third or the second and fourth beats of the bar, an issue which is only clarified by the rising flourish into the downbeat of bar 5.

      At this point a balance is achieved, the right hand of the piano filling out the textural spaces and regularly marking the half-bar within the four-bar phrases. However, echoes of the first rhythmic play continue with syncopation both in the piano's left hand and the voice, the 33 34 Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian inheritance Example 3.

      The overall descent of the song's vocal line from mediant to tonic is anticipated in thefirstvocal phrase. Such patterns become the opportunity for highlighting expressive details which both question and reinforce the overall direction. The C4 of bar 5, for example, helps precipitate the first melodic descent, but then in the guise of Bf momentarily suggests a pull back to Ctt in bars 7 and The second half of bar 16 reveals such details to be part of a chromatic preparation for the arrival of the dominant E7. It also presents the first 11 albums ever produced on the 33rpm LP format by Deutsche Grammophon, while 17 of the albums here are on CD for the first time ever.

      Fantastic sonics, with recordings full of presence. The history of the original LP and it's development carefully delineated in excellent liner notes by Tully Potter in English, French and German. Beautiful photography across the page colour booklet, replete with photos of the artists and the post-war era.

      Italienisches Liederbuch

      The page colour booklet, replete with artist photos and photo-mementoes of the era, provides both a helpful guide to how it all started and a nostalgic trip down the memory lane of past-war recordings. The history of the original LP and it's development during the s are finely delineated in Tully Potters comprehensive liner notes; and the presentation of what were then Germany s first 12 LPs several of which are included in the set is documented in the original article written by DGs marketing team in October for the record trade.

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      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2
      Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2 Nicht länger kann ich singen, No. 42 from Italienisches Liederbuch, nach Paul Heyse, Part 2

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