Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
ah dan, thanks for instigating a revisitation to the origins of this awesomely creepy musical rendition of goethe's ' the elf king' poem. we studied this in romantic choral literature, and i forgot all about it until now. wow what a trip down memory lane.
after searching a bit, it turns out the music used in brightman's arrangement was borrowed from beethven's 7th symphony. chiara ferrau, a modern day lyricist who does a lot of work for brightman did a great job, as did sarah in her performance. what a great marriage of vocal, instrumental and lyrical resources.
of interest is the origins of the theme, that being franz schubert's lied "der erlkönig' [the elf king] based on the goethe poem of the same name. check it out from wiki
ferrau's lyrics seem to be loosely based on the geothe poem.
here's anne sofie singing and orchestrated version on youtube. it's amazing how she switches vocal register to sing all parts:
Four characters — narrator, father, son, and the Erlking — are all sung by one vocalist normally, but the work has been performed by four separate singers on occasion. Schubert has placed each character in largely a different vocal range and each has his own rhythmic nuances; in addition, most vocalists endeavor to use a different vocal color for each one.
1. The Narrator lies in the middle range and is in minor mode. 2. The Father lies in the low range and sings both in minor mode and major mode 3. The Son lies in a high range, also in minor mode, representing the fright of the child. 4. The Erlking's vocal line undulates up and down to arpeggiated accompaniment resulting in striking contrast and is in the major mode. The Erlking lines are typically sung pianissimo, portraying a sneaky persuasiveness.
Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear? The father it is, with his infant so dear; He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm, He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?" "Look, father, the Elf King is close by our side! Dost see not the Elf King, with crown and with train?" "My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."
"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me! For many a game I will play there with thee; On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold, My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear The words that the Elf King now breathes in mine ear?" "Be calm, dearest child, thy fancy deceives; the wind is sighing through withering leaves."
"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there? My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care My daughters by night on the dance floor you lead, They'll cradle and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not see, How the Elf King is showing his daughters to me?" "My darling, my darling, I see it aright, 'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."
"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy! And if thou aren't willing, then force I'll employ." "My father, my father, he seizes me fast, For sorely the Elf King has hurt me at last."
The father now gallops, with terror half wild, He holds in his arms the shuddering child; He reaches his farmstead with toil and with dread,-- The child in his arms he finds motionless, dead.
jesseye norman's version with schubert's original piano accompaniment is quite compelling as well:
....awesome abuse connection. the father is completely oblivious to the fact that the 'elf king' is 'whispering in his (the son's) ear':
"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me! For many a game I will play there with thee;"
but the father [protector] not perceiving the pending danger, tells the child, your worries are unfounded, it's only 'the mist o're the plain'.
unfortunately, the father is blind to the exploitation of his son, and so sadly the son dies as a result.
how many caregivers turned a deaf ear or a blind eye to the grooming that was happening to their own children?
so many of us can claim this as our own story.
thanks for opening up topic for a choral music buff to investigate.
thanks so much, i love the connection, i have a new song to put on my ipod to encourage me thru the day. thanls for the info too...patrick
" If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drum. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away." Henry David Thoreau
Ron, Thanks for sharing the story behind this piece. I heard Sarah Brightman sing this in her La Luna concert which she performed in New Orleans several years ago. It touched me deeply when I heard it, but I didn't know why. When I read the lyrics, I understood. Thanks for filling in the background.
Steve J Courageous Buffalo
New Warrior, May 2008 WoR, Hope Springs, October 2009 WoR, Dahlonega, May 2010 email@example.com
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