In meinem letzten Beitrag schrieb ich über den Zyklus "Frauenliebe und -leben" und dass mir Lotte Lehmanns Version nicht so gut gefällt wie die von Ria Ginster. Nun, ehrlich gesagt hatte ich den Liederzyklus lange nicht mehr gehört, und beim Wiederhören fiel mir dann auf, dass meine alte Bewunderung für Lotte Lehmann doch ungebrochen ist Das verstärkte sich noch, als ich ihr Buch "More than singing" von 1946 aufschlug und nachlas, was sie selbst über die Interpretation des Liederzyklus geschrieben hat.
Ich bin sehr dafür, dass man (Vor-)Urteile, insbesondere über Sänger und Interpretationen, alle paar Jahre einmal überprüfen sollte, und ich möchte den Lesern dieses Blogs ebenfalls dazu Gelegenheit geben. Wie immer warten bei der Beschäftigung mit musikalischer Kunst ein paar Entdeckungen auf den Hörer - und auch ein paar Ohrwürmer.
Ich drucke im folgenden den Text des Buches von Lotte Lehmann über den Liederzyklus ab und biete die Aufnahme zum Download. Als Aufnahme habe ich derzeit nur die Version mit dem Odeon-Kammerorchester unter Leitung von Frieder Weissmann vom 10. XI. 1928 zur Verfügung. Lotte Lehmann hat das Werk auch 1942 mit Bruno Walter am Klavier aufgenommen, und es gibt auch noch eine Live-Aufnahme von 1946 mit Paul Ulanowsky am Klavier. Ich werde noch einmal danach suchen und die Aufnahmen später hier eventuell ebenfalls anbieten. Für heute muss diese Version mit einer verfälschenden Begleitung reichen.
Frauenliebe und -leben, op. 42 (Schumann), Recording for Odeon
10. November 1928. Instrumentalensemble unter der Leitung von Frieder Weissmann
Lotte Lehmann schreibt über den Liederzyklus "Frauenliebe und-leben" (und leistet damit auch ein wenig Ehrenrettung für diese Lieder, die damals auch schon umstritten waren...):
The dreamy chords of the first bar reveal immediately the way in which you must sing. Out of the great melody of love which floats from your heart, the restrained chords rise with a shy subtlety like trembling sighs. Begin as if with a deep sigh. Your voice should be soft, breathy, forlorn. At "she’ ich ihn allein" sing ritardando and give a soft accent to "ihn", no crescendo. Accentuate "heller" both times and exaggerate the "h". Your face which has been transfigured in ecstacy now becomes sad during the short interlude. You cannot quite understand the power of this magic spell which has possessed you. You cannot understand how even your dearest friends can seem so far away from you. Give your voice a darker color. Play with the consonants in "Schwestern" and accent "nicht begehr' ich mehr." Sing ritenuto and be very careful not to slide or scoop at "lieber weinen still im Kämmerlein." Each syllable must be very distinct. Any scooping or sliding would make it much too sentimental. Be very careful to avoid this. The last —"glaub’ ich blind zu sein" is an almost whispered pianissimo. Your face should be radiant with a soft enchantment until the end of the postlude.
Now you are beginning to grow accustomed to this strange feeling of ecstacy which pervades you. You have no desire, you are contented in the knowledge of your own love, which it is impossible to share with anyone. Again and again you look with rapture at the image of your beloved which seems to be always before you and you find your greatest joy in raving about bis virtues, bis wonderful character and bis great beauty. The absolute lack of passionate desire makes it possible for you to be completely happy in your love.Begin this second song joyfully, -radiantly, almost dizzy with delight. The first phrase is like a fanfare of victory. Sing with absolute accuracy in exact rhythm. Each time you emphasize another of your beloved's wonderful qualities make an ecstatic accent: "Holde Lippen, klares Auge." You feel: he is so far away, so far above you—like a star in the sky . . . You know that it would be futile to desire a star, futile to desire this starlike image of the one and only being whom you love... But you are sad that you are not more beautiful, more worthy of him . . . Sing the next phrase "So wie dort in blauer Tiefe" under the shadow of this thought and give an accent to "fern" (consonants!) with a certain hesitancy as if it gives you pain to say—"he is so far away". But in the interlude you find your way back to your inner contentment.Sing "Wandle, wandle deine Bahnen" with nobility and in a warm flow. Bring out the lovely crescendo and subito piano: "deinen Schein, nur in Demut" and accent "Demut".In the next phrase the ritardando at "selig nur und traurig sein" becomes a tempo but sing piano, softly, with restraint. You are over-whelmed, intoxicated, by your own humility. You long to sacrifice yourself, you long to feel small and insignificant and worthless at his feet . . . "Hoher Stern der Herrlichkeit" should be sung with ecstatic exuberance. Oh your love is boundless—you even enjoy talking about the happy woman whom he will take for his wife! But sing these phrases with inner restraint in spite of your willingness to sacrifice yourself, in spite of nor really daring to imagine any happiness for yourself . . . "Darf beglücken deine Wahl" has a very discrete crescendo. Give the most restrained pianissimo possible to "und ich will die Hohe segnen". "Tausend mal" should have a warm mezzoforte. Accentuate "weinen" (consonants!) "Selig, selig bin ich dann" has a crescendo— it is as if you are saying to yourself—"Oh yes, I shall be happy in his happiness ..." Give a subito piano to "sollte mir das Herz auch brechen" almost with tears, and now you lay your sacrifice at his feet: "brich, o Herz, was liegt darin?" Sing this broadly, forte, with an almost religiously sacrificial quality.The interlude brings you back to the ecstatic enthusiasm with which you began. But don't sing it with quite the same innocent joy: in the meantime you have lived in your Imagination through his happiness and your renunciation. You have wanted to sacrifice your own heart, your own life, for him. There must now be a very subtle difference in the way in which you sing these phrases. Sing them fervently, with a delight which is almost on the verge of tears.In the postlude your whole being should be transfigured by an over-whelming enchantment: feel the music streaming through your body, follow the musical line with your expression—but never overstep the limits which the style of Lieder singing imposes.
This short breathless song should be sung as if you had just stopped running—you are so completely overwhelmed and stunned by your happiness that you have come running out of the house like a child . . . You are quite breathless, you can't be sure whether this was just a dream or an intoxicating reality! Begin the song as if plunging into it. Sing it passionately, almost wildly. The shock has been too overwhelming—you had never, never dreamed, even in your secret heart, that he could love you . . .At "erhöht und beglückt" go over with a ritardando to a restrained tempo. Sing with a veiled piano: "Mir war's, er habe gesprochen". Sing this with an almost doubtful expression. You try to recall this incredible moment; yes, I think he said . . . And now you put your whole heart into the words "ich bin auf ewig dein". But immediately your doubt returns: "Mir war's, ich träume ..." sing this with haste, accentuated—and sing the last "es kann ja nimmer so sein" broadly, almost in tears.But no: it has been reality, it has not been only a dream. With this realization you throw your whole being into his life. Sing with the utmost warmth and abundance, broadly, forte, sing it as if you were standing in the warm summer sunshine, with the warm wind blowing through your hair, flowers all about you, your arms ecstatically outstretched: "O lass' im Traume mich sterben.""In Tränen unendlicher Lust" is adagio. It has the enthusiasm of an almost religious fanaticism. The word "Lust" must give the transition to the next phrase, sing it ff ending it abruptly.The repetition of the first phrases are now piano, whispered, breathy.Don't neglect the crescendo at "hat ein Traum mich berückt" but it should be more a crescendo of expression than of force. Sing the music of the interlude with your thoughts—there can be no interruption in your expression, the music is you—you must express the music. Sing the last sentence with the softest of pianissimos, beneath tears of joy.Hold the last tone letting it fade away gradually.
This is a song of gaily animated happiness. Calm and contented in the realization of his love, you are almost childlike and as yet unawakened to passion. He loves you, how could you ask for anything more? Do you want complete surrender? Oh—you have surrendered your whole soul, your whole heart . . . Your senses are quiet. He, the hero of your dreams is yours forever. He shall determine your fate. You want only to follow his wish . . . That is the greatest happiness for which you could ask ... He has given you the ring as his bethrothed. This sign of bondage between you is your most precious possession. You caress it, you rejoice in its unaccustomed pressure upon your finger which seems like a caress.Begin the song from out of this feeling of contentment. Your voice is softly floating, light and animated. You remember the time between childhood and adolescence—"ich fand allein mich, verloren im öden, unendlichen Raum ..." At this time you had no idea of where you belonged. But then he came, opening the door of life and happiness for you. After "unendlichen Raum" sing "du" ritenato and at "Ring an meinem Finger" a tempo. This must be done (very subtly!) in order to connect the phrases.Don't misinterpret the words: "ihm angehören ganz, hin selber mich geben", there is neither passion nor desire here. The complete surrender of which you speak is the surrender of your soul. You have no idea of what will happen in marriage, you only know that you belong to him completely and that you will do whatever he asks of you... Sing with the deepest sincerity: "Verklärt mich in seinen Glanz". Sing it ritardando and then immediately a tempo at "Ring". (The word "du" is still ritardando. Remember the same phrase earlier in the song). Accent "Herze" and feel the happiness in the postlude.
The wedding day! You are surrounded by the friends of your childhood. A girl, for the last time, you are in your room under your father's roof. You are blissfully happy and excited but you cannot entirely overcome a virginal fear no matter how much you scold yourself for it. ..Begin the song with great excitement. You talk to your friends in order to quiet your inner fear. You admit the strangeness of your beloved who with passionate impatience has always longed for the wedding day. You have never felt this driving impatience. You have been quiet and contented in the realization of being his bethrothed. A strange and frightening experience seems to lie before you,—you ask your girlish friends to help you to overcome your silly fears . . . Sing "Helft mir, ihr Schwestern, helft mir verscheuchen eine törichte Bangigkeit", piano, whispering. Then freeing yourself from these disturbing thoughts you recall with delight the image of the man whose bride you will become today. You surrender yourself to him, in humility you bow your head . . . "All the flowers are for him, for my hero! Who am I?" This is the overflowing expression of your own complete surrender. But now attired in your bridal dress, you look about you and bid your friends good-bye. You are no longer one of them. Today you close a door upon the life you shared with them and open one upon a world to which they do not as yet belong. Womanhood will now separate you from these maidens . . . You have been like sisters. Now you say good-bye. This good-bye is like an interlude in the flow of the song as if while stepping forward to meet the bridegroom, your feet yet hesitate upon the threshold and you glance back once more into the faces of your friends. Sing "Aber euch Schwestern grüss' ich mit Wehmut" with emotion and then continue with pride and dignity: "Freudig scheidend aus eurer Schaar." Your farewell has been ritardando but start a tempo at "Freudig scheidend". Realize that you cannot change too suddenly from one emotion to another . . . Don't sing "Freudig scheidend" with a sudden plunge into radiance, sing it with happiness but there is still a last tear of your "good-bye" in it, a last trembling sigh ... This is difficult to explain but try to imagine this scene: "Good bye my dear friends. I have loved you and will always love you but now I am no longer one of you . . . Oh I am happy to become the wife of my beloved. There is nothing I want more to be. I go to my marriage as if the doors of heaven were opening for me . . . Yet: Good-bye!" The tear of farewell minglcs with the tear of happiness - . .. You must feel this, in order to express it.
The postlude is the wedding march. In your Imagination you are walking to the altar clad in your bridal gown. You stand erect, your face uplifted, radiant,—you look into the face of God who has blessed you with the wonder of love.
You have changed. This must be very clear. The way in which you lean against the piano should be different, your body is relaxed, you are more experienced. You are a woman now who also experiences the ecstacy of love in a sensual way. You are awakened. You know the power of passion. You know desire and fulfillment. Your voice is more vibrant. It has lost the untouched whiteness of your girlhood. Your piano tones are velvety and glowing.Take the first chords as if your husband, in whose arms you are lying, has just lifted your face to his. Your eyes in tears meet his puzzled and questioning gaze. You say to him: "Süsser Freund". Never during the rapturous period of your bethrothal have you called him "süsser Freund"—this says so much, this tenderness, this caressing way of addressing him. In it is the maturity of your bondage. He is more than a lover now, he is your understanding friend, your companion for always. And he is "süss" because you share with him all the secret enchantment, all the sensual delights of being one. Sing "Süsser Freund" with a vibrant tone, give these two words all the glowing significance of which they are born.Sing softly and with a lovely floating piano. The Crescendi ("Lass’ der feuchten Perlen" and "freudig hell erzittern") should be sung very discretely, almost unnoticeably. "Wie so bang' mein Busen" should be sung with a breathy tone and then with sudden decision (very subtly) —"Komm’ und birg dein Antlitz". Sing "will in's Ohr dir flüstern" very gracefully and with a smile of secret joy.The interlude is the confession of your sweet secret and his response overwhelmed with happiness.Begin with a quiet dignity at "Weisst du nun . . . ", don't quicken the tempo, sing very quietly, warmly, softly. "Du geliebter, geliebter Mann" is to be sung with passion and intensity (consonants!). The interlude (tempo more vivid) again expresses his delight. He wants to rise, to tell you how complete will be the happiness which you share, to say so many, many things, . .. But you stop him, holding him tighter in your embrace. Sing "Bleib’ an meinem Herzen" with a sudden start as if you hold him back. You sing accelerando, with glowing passion until "fester" (consonants!). The interlude leads you to dreams and a drowsy happiness.With restrained tears of joy you speak of your child. Give "der Morgen" and "daraus dein Bildnis" a warm crescendo. The interlude is his glowing kiss and whispering beneath his caressing lips, you sigh —"Dein Bildnis". Hold this, letting it fade away.
Now you are a mother. Fate has brought you the fulfillment of human life and your happiness knows no bounds. This joyous song should be sung as if words are unimportant. Never mind what you say, never mind who listens to you. You look at the tiny infant in your arms and laugh and weep and talk and smile, all in one breach. Sing with warm sincerity "Nur die da säugt" and guide the ritardando over into the joyfui outburst of motherly pride: "Nur eine Mutter". The phrase "o wie bedaur' ich doch den Mann" has a smiling bumor. But your thoughts return immediately to your child and you talk rapidly to him with trembling joy.The postlude is like a surging wave of joy. Feel its sweep, take it up with your body, your exultant face.
But life which has showered you with so many blessings now has dealt you a blow under which your happiness has crumbled away like ashes: your husband has died. Perhaps long years of contentment lie between this song and the last one. I always feel it this way. I always imagine that the children which you have born, are now grown up and living their own lives, as is the fate of parents. You have been happy in the thought of growing old with the companionship of your husband. But God who has given you so much, has denied you this last blessing which life can bestow. Your loss has struck as lightning to the very center of your being.
You are changed. Softness and sweetness have left you. The one discord which struck you down has destroyed your life. The blow has been so sudden, bursting so unexpectedly upon your inner contentment that you realize your pain with fury, and challenge fate as if it were an enemy. Imagine that you kneel beside the deathbed of the one you loved, feeling: but why? Why had he to go, leaving me to this desperate loneliness? How could he do this to me? Injustice and senseless reproach often sound through the complaint of a pained heart.Your voice is like a terrible outcry, harsh, lacking in any loveliness. There is a dark rebellion in it. You stand erect, as if you are paralyzed. Your eyes are wide with horror. At "Es blicket die Verlass'ne vor sich hin" consciousness returns to you, your eyes loose the frightening ex-pression of madness. Sing "Die Welt ist leer, ist leer" with what the French call—"voix blanche"—hold the first "leer" long enough to let it become a discord with the accompaniment.Now you go over into a piano which is rigid and austere until "nicht lebend mehr". In this phrase a dark resignation pervades you. You sing piano with a softer and darker quality. Hold "Schleier" in the same way as you did "leer" but softly and give an accent to "fällt". Visualize the finality in this word "fällt": life in its fullness has ended for you, there is no longer any present or future, there is only the past . . . Sing very slowly, very distinctly and with a dark, velvety, veiled pianissimo: "Da hab' ich dich und mein verlor'nes Glück—du meine Welt." Give great emphasis (but very subtly) to these last words, especially "du meine Welt". You stand very quietly until the end of the long postlude. You are like a statue of mourning. An in-cident which I recall may help to make clear to you the impression which your attitude should give here: long ago a wonderful friend of mine died. He was buried near Vienna in a remote little graveyard surrounded by forests and mountains. He had loved this spot and wanted to be buried there, far from the world. But he had been a great artist and hundreds of people came from Vienna to attend his funeral. His grave was high up on the slope of a hill. As we followed his flower laden coffin I watched his widow climbing behind the pall bearers. She was a fragile little woman but the terrible grief of losing her husband could not crush her. She walked upwards with an heroic erectness, a noble dignity, her face uplifted to the hill where stood the open grave. She seemed to have the grandeur of a Greek statue. This is the impression which you must convey throughout the postlude, while the music tells of the past.