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word! Who bears the countless stars of heaven? Who leads the sun from its tabernacle? He comes forth, gives light, and smiles on us from afar, and goes his heroic way.
Majestätisch und Erhaben (In a majestic and lofty manner), C major, 2-2.
This is the fifth of six songs for a voice and pianoforte, poems by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715–69). The songs were published towards the end of 1803 and dedicated to Count Browne, “BrigadierGeneral in the Russian Service.”
Four TONE POEMs FOR FULL ORCHESTRA (AFTER A. Böcklin), OP. 128 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAX REGER
(Born at Brand, Bavaria, March 19, 1873; now living.)
Reger's “Vier Tondichtungen für grosses orchester (nach A. Böcklin)” were performed for the first time at Essen on October 12, 1913. The composer conducted the City Orchestra. His Sinfonietta was performed at the concert. The suite was published in 1913. These pieces were criticised at the time as not being so much programme-music as paintings, or crayon sketches, of moods. I. Der geigende Eremit (The Hermit Fiddling before the Statue of the Madonna). Böcklin painted this picture after 1882. It is in the National Gallery, Berlin. An old man in his cell plays with bowed head before the shrine of the Madonna while little angels listen. The poem is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two trumpets, four horns, a set of three kettledrums, solo violin unmuted, a band of violins, violas, and violoncellos unmuted, a band of violins, violas, violoncellos muted, and double basses unmuted. Molto sostenuto, doch nie Schleppend (In a very sustained manner, but not in a dragging way), E minor, E major, 3-4. II. Spiel der Wellen (Sport of the Waves). This picture was printed in 1883. It is in the New Pinakothek, Munich. Water-men and water-women frolic in the waves. A woman gayly dives. Another, frightened, is laughed at by a bearded, rubicund old fellow, whose head is wreathed with pond-lilies. The piece is scored for three flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two trumpets, four horns, three trombones, bass tuba, a set of three kettledrums, triangle, harp, and strings. Vivace, A major, 3-4. There is a transition passage, Adagio tranquillo, to III. Die Todteninsel (The Island of the Dead). Arnold Böcklin, in the spring of 1880, made the first sketch of his “Island of the Dead,” and this sketch, I.10 metres in length and 1.54 metres in breadth, is in the possession of the Simrock family of Berlin. This
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he left unfinished for a time, and made a second which he at once painted, and this was for the Countess Marie von Oriola, of Büdesheim. It is said that he painted it according to the wish of the Countess, who visited him at Florence, and that when he showed it to her he said: “You received, as you wished, a dream picture. It must produce such an effect of stillness that any one would be frightened to hear a knock on the door.” According to Fritz von Istini, a third variant of the first sketch was made in 1883, a fourth in 1884, a fifth, which is in the Leipsic Museum, in 1886, and still a sixth, almost a replica of one of the former ones, was sold in Munich. The second variant is owned by the Schön family in Worms. There are differences in detail and in color in the five variants. The island in the picture was suggested by the group of Ponza Islands, north of the Gulf of Naples. Their form and rocks show that they are of volcanic origin, and in prehistoric times were probably of the Vesuvian craters. Some of the islands are arable and inhabited, others are wild masses of rocky ledges. As Franz Hermann Messner puts it, one of the latter islands was the half of what was once a volcanic peak. The waves in the course of centuries shaped a little haven. Birds brought the seeds of cypress-trees. The trees in time shot up in the ledges. At last man came, and made paths and hollowed chambers and threw up a rough wall as a protection against the waves. The island even then was as solemn as a pyramid. It was a hidden nook for the dead that wished to lie undisturbed. Böcklin expressed this rest of the dead in a place remote, and forgotten by the world. The sea is still, there is no cry of bird, no fluttering, no voice. The boat approaching the little harbor of the island with its towering blue-green cypresses and awful rocks is rowed noiselessly by the ferryman. The white and quiet figure near the coffin, -is it some mourner or is it a priest? This picture of Böcklin suggested a symphonic poem to Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen, noted in Riemann's Musik Lexikon of 1905, and it was performed about four years ago at Zwickau. The picture inspired the first of “Three Böcklin Fantasias” by Felix Woyrsch. Rachmaninov's “Todteninsel,” a symphonic poem after Böcklin's picture, was produced at Moscow in the season of 1908–09, when it was conducted by the composer. The first performance in Boston was at a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, December 18, 1909, when the composer conducted. The second performance here, led by Mr. Fiedler, was on February 19, 1910. The third, led by Mr. Fiedler, was on April 15, 1911. It is said that Andreas Hallén has also composed a symphonic poem suggested by the picture. Reger's poem is scored for three flutes, oboe, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, double bassoon, three trumpets, four horns, three trombones, bass tuba, a set of three kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, and strings. Molto sostenuto, 4-4, C-sharp minor, D-flat major. IV. Bacchanale. This picture was painted in 1864 (?). It is owned by Knorr of Munich. Men and women are rioting about a tavern near Rome. Some, overcome by wine, sprawl on the ground. The piece is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, three trumpets, four horns, three trombones, bass tuba, a set of three kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, strings. Vivace, 2-4, ending in A major. These and other pictures by Böcklin have served composers. Hans Huber's Symphony, No. 2, E minor, Op. 115, the “Böcklin” symphony, was performed in Boston at concerts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, October 25, 1902 (Mr. Gericke conductor), April 1, 1905 (Mr. Gericke conductor). The finale is entitled “Metamorphoses suggested by Pictures by Böcklin.” The titles of these pictures are “The Silence of the Ocean,” “Prometheus Chained,” “The Fluting Nymph,” “The Night,” “Sport of the Waves,” “The Hermit Fiddling before the Statue of the Madonna,” “The Elysian Fields,” “The Dawn of Love,” “Bacchanale.” But the second theme of the first movement is said to express the picture “See, the Meadow Laughs”; the second movement suggests fauns, satyrs, and even stranger creatures of the forest dear to the painter; and Mr. Eugen Segnitz found the moods of the third movement in Böcklin’s “Sacred Grove,” “Venus Anadyomene,” and “Hymn of Spring.” Böcklin's “The Elysian Fields” moved Felix Weingartner and Andreas Hallén to compose symphonic poems of the same title. Weingartner's was played in Boston at a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, March 7, 1903 (Mr. Gericke conductor), and at a Boston Opera House concert, February 16, 1893 (Mr. Weingartner conductor).
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It should be added that Böcklin’s “Island of the Dead” is, in a way, a carrying out of an idea in “The Villa by the Sea.” The first picture was painted some time before 1860, and in 1864 Böcklin painted the same subject, but introduced the figure of a mourning woman looking at the ocean. Nor was the “Island of the Dead” the only picture that has more than one variant. “Ruins by the Sea,” which was dated 1880, was repainted five times, and a picture of his, 1898, harks back to the same motive.
“The Fiddling Hermit” and “Sport of the Waves” suggested the second and the third of the Böcklin Fantasias by Felix Woyrsch, mentioned above.
Arnold Böcklin was born, the son of a highly respectable merchant, at Băle on October 16, 1827. He died at his villa in San Domenico, near Florence, on January 16, 1901, and he is buried at Florence in the Evangelical Cemetery. He studied for two years at Geneva, then at Düsseldorf under the landscapist J. W. Schirmer, then at Antwerp, then at Brussels, where he studied figure-painting. He was in Paris during the bloody days of 1848, and he then returned to Bâle to perform his military service. The remaining years were thus spent: Rome, 1850–58, with a short stay at Băle in 1852; 1858, Munich and Hanover; 1859–60, Munich; 1860–62, Weimar, whither he was called to be professor at the newly founded art school; Rome, 1862–66; Bâle, 1866–71; Munich, 1871–74; Florence, 1874–85; Zürich, 1888–92; 1892 till his death, Florence. He died crowned with titles and honors. He married “a luxuriantly beautiful Trasteverina,” and her beauty and that of his daughter Angela served him in his work.
(Born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833; died at Vienna, April 3, 1897.) The accompaniment of these songs is orchestrated by Max Reger.
“IMMER LEISER WIRD MEIN SCHLUMMER.”
Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Slumber lightly now is hieing,