Der Sandmann, No. 12, Op. 79

Nadia Pelle
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The whole theme of Wilhelm Tell is, of course, that this freedom is threatened by the Austrians. Every German schoolchild would have known about the heroic son, Walther Tell, who stood calmly while his father was compelled to shoot an apple off his head. Later in the play Wilhelm Tell kills Gessler, the villain who has devised this cruel game. The same old princes, foremost among them the Austrian chancellor Metternich, employed a cynical Realpolitik. Certainly Schiller was not considered relevant enough by Schumann to figure in any of the songs composed in his great lieder year of O komm geschwind!

O come quickly! The wood is ringing Springtime in. Come without delay! The mixture of sunlight and cold air is to be felt in the temperature of this music. The last traces of a light snowfall from the day before speckle the ground, but we fancy we now see flowers where there have only been granules of ice.

A succession of melting phrases depicts … melting. These are the conditions for the emergence of snowdrops, flowers which are lured above ground by even a hint of a change of season. The tiny little accompanying phrase which sets the seal on the song is the most miniature of postludes — a metaphor for evaporation, the disappearance of a twinkling drop of dew in a glint of sunlight — the highest note of the piece reserved for the very last. I see what is far, I see what is near, The moon and the stars, The wood and the deer. Kennst du das Haus? Kennst du es wohl?

Kennst du den Berg und seinen Wolkensteg? Kennst du ihn wohl? Do you know the house? Columns support its roof, Its great hall gleams, its apartments shimmer, And marble statues stand and stare at me: What have they done to you, poor child? Do you know it?

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It is there, it is there I long to go with you, my protector. Do you know the mountain and its cloudy path? It is there, it is there Our pathway lies! O father, let us go! This world-famous lyric set by Beethoven, Schubert, Wolf and Liszt, among many others is a hymn to Italy.

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Non-German soil is a rarity in Op 79; the two Schiller settings are Swiss — and thus honorary German — and the two Zigeunerlieder might take place in Spain or England. In the first strophe Mignon remembers the orange and lemon trees native to a kinder climate; she longs for the warmth and fragrance of the South. The third verse describes the frightening and difficult trek across the mountains between Italy and Germany. She has been kidnapped and she is being taken northwards. She can only remember the perilous mountain passes with the stumbling donkeys, sheer rock faces, cascading cataracts and imagined dragons.

These beseeching semiquavers are a portrait of Mignon herself as described by Goethe. In this music she looks longingly into the distance, and in vain; she gazes heavenward in hope and is then downcast in disappointment. She has the fiery temperament of an Italian, and the diffidence of a wounded child who has suffered much. This is all to be heard in these four bars which rise and fall chromatically, encompassing the contradictions of her character.

Like a luxuriantly overgrown garden the texture of the music thickens and intensifies. With the exception of an interrupted cadence which is the special feature of the link between the second and third verses, all three strophes are introduced by the same prelude. This requirement is perhaps in the age-old tradition of the strophic song, but one cannot help feeling that in simply expecting his performers to become more intense with each verse, Schumann is abdicating some of his responsibilities as a composer.

The performers must do what they can, within the confines of the music, to depict the various images of the second and third verses: the icy stare of the statues with their hollow voices in the second, the might of nature in the third verse, as well as the menacing brood of dragons. I advise the former for the first two verses, the latter for the dragon of the final verse — this contributes to the gradual increasing of intensity the composer asks of his singer and pianist.

The postlude is a tiny and vulnerable thing. A fragment of the Vorspiel is repeated only the first five notes. And then the first four notes of the vocal line are heard pianissimo in the right hand. This is like a final question dying in the distance, a solitary signpost leading nowhere. The way this work ends with a whispered little plea is surely the sign of a dying confidence that the composer felt in his own destiny.

If this is the composer welcoming children to an adult world it is a muted reception. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Don't show me this message again. Graham Johnson piano. Both singers are natural storytellers with a twi And as ever, his sleeve notes a In sum Johnson's account of the piano parts is superlative [and] his bookl The Songmakers' Almanac. Lott's still-radiant soprano combines beautifully with the vibrant, musky mezzo of Kirchschlanger, while Jo For conjuring it is: any element of the didactic is totally absent in this seamless garment August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben Track 3 on CDJ [1'25].

You lovely star, You shine from afar, Yet I love you dearly With all my heart. How fervently I love you! Your twinkling eye Watches over me always. So I look at you, Wherever you are: Your friendly eye Is always before me. Like his great forbear, Schumann can always conjure something memorable in terms of melody with the simplest musical means. Thus the star, or at least its beneficent light, falls gently towards earth. Dame Ann Murray mezzo-soprano , Graham Johnson piano. Track 5 on CDJ [0'51]. Warum doch so eilig, Jetzt fern und dann nah! O butterfly, say, Why fly from me?

Why hurry so, First far and then near? The idea of flight is continued in a masterful little miniature where the size of the butterfly is mirrored exactly in the scale of the music. The tiny hunting horn motifs remind us that the little insect is a Don Juan programmed to seduce the flowers.

Schubert in his Schelgel setting Der Schmetterling acknowledges a similar roguishness. The way the voice bounces off the piano, and vice-versa, denotes perfect reciprocity: every movement of the butterfly is mirrored by a complementary reaction from the flowers in the garden — the laws of nature translated into musical metaphor.

Dame Felicity Lott soprano , Graham Johnson piano. Track 6 on CDJ [0'59]. Cuckoo, cuckoo calls from the wood: Let us sing, Let us dance! Spring will soon be here. Cuckoo, cuckoo, gallant hero! Your refrain Was not in vain: Winter is on the run. This is another nature portrait, and it is only slightly less delightful than its predecessor because the staccato-voiced cuckoo with more hunting-horn motifs is a rather less poetic creature than the hovering butterfly. What we have taken to be the horn fanfares of nature are also perhaps the bugle calls of regime change. Track 7 on CDJ [1'51].

Welcome to our valley here, Sweetest, sweetest Spring! Sweetest Spring, wherever you be, We salute you joyously with singing and rejoicing. This is another spring song but it is in a new and rather more solemn genre — at least as far as this set of songs is concerned. This melody, deeply felt and also rather ceremonial, is in the manner of the Studentlied, a type of earnest drinking song that one might imagine being sung in Heidelberg by Eichendorff and his comrades. All in all, this is a deeply Teutonic creation, slightly ponderous but noble and nostalgic, radiant in a mournful manner as even happy songs of this very German type can be.

Spring is so beautiful and so short-lived that even a song in its praise is tinged with the sadness of its passing. Track 8 on CDJ [2'19]. Seht, da ist ein lustig Leben Und das Trauern unbekannt. Look, you can live cheaply there, And be happy for nothing at all: Milk and honey flow in streams, The waterfalls are wine. Musical sophistication takes a back seat here in order to avoid a conflict of interest with a slew of words. There is social satire here in plenty from the poet as he mocks the aspirations of greedy bourgeois society, spoiled children who want to have their cake and eat it.

Schumann seems not to have seen the inherent sarcasm in the words — in any case musical irony is the province of very few composers, and Schumann was not one of them. Instead he sees the poem as an opportunity to make a jolly little song, skilfully put together in its way, light on melody but definitely heavy in textual calories.

Track 10 on CDJ [1'49]. The culmination of this sub-section of six settings by Hoffmann von Fallersleben is a little masterpiece, the most developed of the songs so far. How Brahms must have loved this music written by the only man he really acknowledged as his master — there is enough here to have lasted that composer a lifetime in terms of influence cf. It is the unconscious connection with folk song which provides the earthiness and sanity of the music: it is anchored in a quiet religious confidence, without being heavy or sanctimonious.

Emanuel von Geibel A gypsy lad went for a soldier; but he pocketed his bounty money and bolted, so he must hang tomorrow. There is a strong element of pastiche to which is added the fun of quodlibet. The words are from the Spanish by Geibel, but Northern Europe has gypsies of its own and Schumann has come up with a compromise where Spanish temperament meets the Hungarian tzigane. Track 12 on CDJ [1'00].

A gypsy lad Joined the soldiers, He embezzled the bounty And tomorrow must hang. Gypsies, home-grown ones, were known throughout Germany — for a child from a middle-class family they no doubt represented something both frightening and thrilling, a mixture of the criminally forbidden and the brilliantly exotic.

The good news is that the condemned man has the wit and cheek to escape his fate. Each morning early when the daylight wakes me I wash my face in my own tears. Track 13 on CDJ [1'24].

Lieder-Album für die Jugend, Op. 79: No. 12, Der Sandmann

As in Melancholie from the Spanisches Liederspiel the relatively untravelled composer suggests with uncanny accuracy the doleful intensity of a Mediterranean culture in emotional extremis. The first and last strophes of the poem are original Geibel, even if borrowed from Borrow see commentary on the poets above. The middle strophe, however, could well be original Schumann. The spread chords of the accompaniment bring to mind the baleful musical personality of the harper in Wilhelm Meister. The most admirable thing is that Schumann seems to be able to write his own folk music and convince us that it comes from a genuinely Spanish, or gypsy, source.

Track 14 on CDJ [2'31]. Johann Ludwig Uhland I am the mountain shepherd lad, I look down on all the castles. This is where the sun shines first, With me it lingers longest. For the first time in the work we hear something that might be interpreted as a call to arms. The third verse in particular suggests a boy hero, a pin-up and role-model for other youngsters in times of war. One is reminded of young men conscripted to defend their country and die before their time — whether the British boy soldiers who lied about their age in World War I, or the Hitler Jugend commanded to fight the Russians entering Berlin.

It seems clear that this vignette, lacking any great musical distinction, would not have appeared in this collection if the stirring political events of had not taken place. Track 16 on CDJ [1'18]. Come, sweet May, and turn The trees green again, And make the little violets Bloom for us by the brook! How we should love to see A little violet again, And journey into fresh open spaces And go into the green outdoors! Eric Sams chose not to comment on them in his book on the Schumann songs, and the composer himself considered hiving them off into a separate section for a later edition.

This piece is firmly grounded in G major with excursions into the dominant and, in slightly quirkier style, the subdominant. The thirds and sixths between the voices betoken comfortable rural village celebrations.

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The V—VI—I of the final cadence is also unusual and slightly awkward. Track 18 on CDJ [2'14]. The instillation in children of a love of animals, and compassion for vulnerable living things, is surely an important parental duty. Here Schumann chooses a poem for his own children which should go to the heart of every child. In the bestiary of the lied and I have devised a number of animal programmes over the years this unpretentious little song has a very special place — apart from the Schubert Schlegel settings it is unusual for a bird or animal to narrate a song in the first person.

The little owl is a victim of bullying by the older owls; the taunting of the children in the third strophe is meant to show the cost of thoughtless human cruelty. The staccato which pervades the music is bird-speak, or rather bird-squeak and squawk, while the occasional appearance of semiquavers in the accompaniment betokens the twitching of ruffled feathers. The key is A minor which means that by association the composer has cast this little creature as an orphan cf. Armes Waisenkind and Die Waise.

Track 20 on CDJ [1'25]. How lovely it is Out in the open air! Spring invites us, Spring bids us To dance to the sound Of the willow flute. This is another earthy ditty, a quasi folk song from the land, one which has its roots in the German traditions of serious walking, stick in hand.

Schumann had written in this vein in the Wanderlied and Wanderung of , both settings of Justinus Kerner which require the kind of energy only known to the youthful. This is the exhilaration born of healthy exercise. The singer seems to embrace nature with the widest gaze, a breadth of vision reflected by the impressive span of the roaming vocal line which seems unabashed in its exploratory zeal. All this makes for an attractive, if slightly four-square song. In order to spin out the words to better advantage Schumann repeats lines from previous strophes to make the beginnings of new musical verses — a familiar device in his songs of this period.

The dactylic rhythm of the accompaniment powers the music forward; but this is no flighty aria.

Nadia Pelle / I Musici de Montral - Lullabies

In some of the collections, folk- and drinking-songs appear side by side with lullabies, visions and depictions of festive scenes. The first two hypermeasures in the vocal portion of the song consist of two bars of vocal line followed by two bars of piano interlude. Jahrhundert: Bonn [inc. Total Playing Time Here she proves conclusively that she can be just as compelling in German song.

Instead we have something of a stomp to make the ground shake. The political metaphors are obvious: this appetite for a new spring is a hidden manifesto for revolutionaries. Track 21 on CDJ [2'47]. Nun risch und rasch mit Sack und Stab Nur wieder jetzt die Trepp hinab. Hermann Kletke I wear two little soft boots With marvellously soft little soles; I carry a little sack on my back, In a flash I slip upstairs.

And when I step into their room The children are saying their prayers: I sprinkle on their little eyes Two little grains of my sand, Then they sleep all night long, Watched over by God and angels. Quick as a flash with sack and wand I steal downstairs again.

Schumann pours all his genius for atmosphere and colour into this justly famous miniature. Schumann first saw the poem together with this illustration, and his music clearly owes much to it. In nightcap and felt booties the sandman carefully walks along the tightrope of a flower tendril. His concentration and his determination to accomplish his balancing act in the most surreptitious manner possible are clearly to be heard in these meticulously placed staccato left-hand chords.

The sandman watches with some satisfaction as the children quietly nod off. The postlude with which the song finally winds down is like a tender benediction: in the closing bars, as the children fall into ever deeper sleep, the music seems to tuck itself into bed. Perhaps only a father who knew the quiet joy of looking into the nursery and seeing all his little ones safely asleep could have written music where fairy-tale delight is mixed with such tender concern. Track 23 on CDJ [1'42]. Ladybird, come and settle On my hand, on my hand, I shall do you no harm, No harm will come of you, I just want to see your bright wings, Bright wings are my joy!

This is another poem about compassion and the natural world; it sets an example for children who might otherwise be thoughtlessly cruel to insects, or who might be frightened of them. But Schumann is truly engaged with this little garden drama, and he writes one of the songs of Op 79 which has had many an independent outing in recitals. It is the combination of moods which is remarkable here: the child is excited to be holding this little visitor in her hand and we can hear this in the slightly restless chromatic inflections ; yet, at the same time, she knows that in order to keep the ladybird from flying away immediately it is essential to adopt a soothing tone of voice with cosy repetitions, as if talking to a child so as not to alarm her temporary guest.

The three-bar postlude to each verse depicts youthful pleasure in such a powerful way that, in hearing these prancing semiquavers, we can almost see the smiling face of a little person enraptured with her new responsibility for another living thing. Track 25 on CDJ [1'59]. Spring comes again And everything rejoices. I look downcast, It has not come for me. The song of an orphan continues the mood of the piano piece; these are works with similar titles in the same key of A minor, and they deal with exactly the same subject. Like Dickens, almost exactly his contemporary, Schumann was entranced by human goodness and bravery enshrined in small and vulnerable female form.

Schumann would have loved Little Dorritt, a novel which was in mid-serialization in England when the composer died. Christian Friedrich Hebbel Track 27 on CDA [0'52]. Track 26 on CDJ [0'56]. Jetzt dir so nah, Jetzt sich versteckend; Abermals da, Scherzend und neckend. Tastest du zu, Bist du betrogen, Spottend im Nu Ist es entflogen. Is it so hard To exercise patience? Just look around you: A garden in bloom! In all the lieder duet repertoire there is nothing to equal this enchanting aerial scherzino for its lightness of touch and texture.

There is counterpoint here, not only between the three musical lines, but also between the words which are pitted against each other, masses of consonants articulated at speed that sound like the twitterings of birds high in the branches. In his duet writing Schumann seems to delight in this type of verbal clash between the voices, even when it makes the text less than intelligible for those without a printed version of the poem. Track 27 on CDJ [2'07]. Hans Christian Andersen When the Christ Child, who saved us from Hell, Was brought into the world, He lay in his crib when the night was dark, With straw and hay for bedding; But the star was shining above the hut, And the ox kissed the feet of the Lord.

Once again we encounter Schumann in his old-fashioned chorale-writing mode. He seems to have been touched by the Andersen narrative poem in which poor children orphans once again, a theme of his two albums for the young sing this little song of devotion with an ad libitum three-part chorus, made possible here for two singers by recording technology. The music is very effective in itself. The trouble is that the religious viewpoint does not come easily to Schumann and, unlike the work of his truly devout contemporaries Franz and Cornelius, it sounds forced. Perhaps his inclusion of this perfectly pleasant little piece in his Liederalbum mirrors the position of contemporary parents who want their children baptized for social, rather than religious, reasons.

In his writings the composer speaks remarkably little about religion: there is no church music as such, and there are only three or so songs, all later Schumann, which have a remotely religious theme. But the fostering of religious devotion is a traditional theme of nineteenth-century educational works, and Schumann might have felt that a small dose of piety however distant he felt from the subject in his own mind was appropriate in a work like this aimed at the children of Germany.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Track 29 on CDJ [2'10]. A child there was who never would Agree to go to church, And every Sunday would find a way Of escaping to the fields. We continue the theme of music meant for the instruction of naughty children — and hopefully their improvement. However he had worked on the Scenes from Faust for voices and orchestra since The composer has cleverly found a work by the great man for his Liederalbum which was designed for the edification of the young he probably knew the merry Loewe setting which was published in Goethe heard this story from secretary Riemer and, years later, developed this anecdote from the past into a light-hearted gift for August miserable at the time because he was away from home and on military duty against the French.

Track 31 on CDJ [2'54]. Snowdrops sound their bells again, Snowdrops bring back again Our happy days and songs. How beautifully they peal In the valley and on the hills: The king is marching in! The king is here again, You should serve him faithfully With cheerful gaze and countenance: O let the king enter in! It begins in plaintive ambiguity the first inversion of A minor depicts a world suspended in the midst of winter depression but it soon progresses to something much bolder and more optimistic. The dispirited semiquavers of the opening give way to much more energetic-sounding pianistic patterns.

The postlude is very regal and festive. Unfortunately, in a strophic song this progression from dark to light happens three times which robs it of some of its surprises. Track 32 on CDJ [1'12]. Zerrissne Wolken tragen Die Trauer aus der Welt. After these dull days How bright the fields are! For the last of his Hoffmann von Fallersleben settings in Op 79 Schumann stays with the all-pervading theme of spring, but this time we find unexpectedly muted colours.

The music and the texture and layout of the accompaniment in particular are eerily reminiscent of Herbstlied Op 43 No 2, a duet about autumn which Schumann composed to a text of August Mahlmann in Track 33 on CDJ [1'07]. Auguste von Pattberg The chirping of a pair of swallows finds Schumann in his best bird-like form. This duet is only a miniature, but a delightful one. The melody is ideal for this purpose — it is very simple, almost bird-brained in fact, but also rather catchy in its nursery-rhyme way.

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The vocal parts soar happily across the bar-lines in four-bar phrases while the flitting accompaniment, initially rocking between C major and A minor, is phrased one bar at a time. The fourth quaver of each bar is staccato, and this sudden little jolt perfectly conveys the compulsive, twitching movement of small birds. Melchior von Diepenbrock Track 34 on CDJ [1'33].

Gérard Souzay sings Schumann and Wolf

When good children go to sleep, Two little angels stand by their beds, They tuck them in and tuck them up, And keep a loving eye on them. Another religious setting by Schumann — untypical in that he almost entirely avoids this in his grown-up lieder. Nevertheless, the result is an extremely beautiful little song. Example 10a.

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Example 10b. Because of the initial irregularity in the deep-level stresses, it is not possible to place strong stresses on downbeats during the first couplet—but I have established that placement in the second couplet. After the second line of the poem, however, he departs from the established regularity as is shown by the sudden influx of red on the second staff of Example 10b. Here, this sensation does not come from accelerated declamation; the note values in the vocal line remain quite consistent, as do the foot durations. The premature initiation of the third line also disrupts the expected alignment of couplets and hypermeasures.

Example 10a shows the hypothetical aligned state; each line occupies two bars and each couplet, four. This elongation brings the hypermeasure to an end at the expected point, i. Example 11a. Example 11b. Example 12a. Example 12b. Schumann delays the vocal entry with an interlude which, incidentally, announces a variant of the opening melody, and hence the expected BRD-conformant rhythm! As if to make up for lost time, he then compresses a considerable number of feet and omits the expected rest between the first and second lines of the stanza.

The emphasis on these final words is reinforced by the dynamic markings—a crescendo leading to the first forte marking in the song at measure 27 not counting the fp markings in the middle section. The postlude, in which the piano reiterates the initial greeting to the swallows cf. Possible solutions to the problem are to choose an overly slow tempo for the song, or to relax the tempo just at that passage. But a slow tempo would evoke large, possibly flightless birds rather than swallows, whose unpredictable darting flight Schumann surely intended to suggest with his irregular declamation.

A performance of the entire short song at a tempo that seems in accord with the liveliness of the birds mentioned in the poem is given in Audio Example Audio Example Example Example 14a. Example 14b. Audio Example 11 is our performance of the first strophe of the song. As in that song, the first and third stresses are strong in numerous lines; this pattern is present, for example, in the second and third lines. Otherwise, however, this setting is characterized by regularity. The poetic feet are close to equivalent in duration. The most frequent duration is two eighth notes per foot.

There are some deviations by. An unexpected and very charming feature of his setting of these lines is the placement of long pauses after them, and the filling-in of the pauses with substantial piano interludes they are just as long as the vocal sub-phrases. The pauses and interludes are unexpected because this is a poem whose rhythm does not suggest pauses between lines; notice the absence of such pauses in Example 14a. The strategy becomes clear after the third line. At the end of the third line, however, there is no extended pause, and no piano interlude; it is as if the singer simply cannot wait to utter the fourth line.

This sense of rushing ahead as the fourth line begins is absolutely appropriate, for the sandman, who in the first three lines merely describes his shoes and his sack, springs into action at this point. Example 14c. This premature landing, in turn, would provide a springboard into the following hasty sixteenth notes.

Example 15a. Example 15b. The interlude here is quite short—a brief echo of the preceding vocal pitches. The abrupt restoration of the quick tempo and of the sixteenth-note figuration at the beginning of the postlude evokes the image of the sandman scampering off to his next assignment—but Schumann concludes with another gesture that suggests falling asleep: the progression from sixteenth-note pulse to eighth-note pulse to a final half note.

At the end of the vocal line, it is important to reestablish the tempo exactly where Schumann requests it. These cadential bars will definitely require some rehearsal. The first two stanzas and the first two lines of the third stanza describe various signs of the arrival of spring.

The poem is written in iambic trimeter, with regularly recurring strong stresses near line endings. Schumann begins as in the other examples: his strategy is to establish the normal declamation pattern before deviating from it. The first deviation occurs immediately after the BRD-conformant initial couplet. Schumann, however, delays the onset of the third line by a quarter beat; an allusion to the opening of the vocal line in the piano shown in small notes in Example 18b reminds us of the expected point of onset of the third line and thus draws attention to the delay that occurs in the vocal line.

Example 18a. Example 18b. Example 19a. Example 19b. A hypothetical BRD-conformant vocal line for the third line of the stanza is shown in Example 19a with embedded Audio Example This quick pacing is surprising not only because it exceeds the expected rate of declamation for the poem, but also because it is much more rapid than the corresponding points of the earlier strophes.

Der Sandmann

This is another of those points where performers must take care; the peak would fall flat if one were to slow down the sixteenth notes as one might be tempted to do, since this passage is close to the end of the vocal line. What is required here is breathless excitement, not lethargy. These gestures of retraction put a negative spin on the potentially optimistic ending of the song. Daverio, John. Fabb, Nigel and Morris Halle. Meter in Poetry: A New Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Finson, Jon. Robert Schumann: The Book of Songs.

Lieder-Album für die Jugend, Op.79

Halle, John and Fred Lerdahl. Krebs, Harald. Roe Min Kok and Laura Tunbridge, — New York: Oxford University Press. Mahlert, Ulrich. Munich: Musikverlag Emil Katzbichler. Bernhard Appel, — Mainz: Schott. Malin, Yonatan. Oehrle, R. Paul Kiparsky and Gilbert Youmans, 87— San Diego: Academic Press. Perrey, Beate. Rohr, Deborah. Stein, Deborah and Robert Spillman. Poetry into Song: Performance and Analysis of Lieder. Tunbridge, Laura. Return to text. The analytical approach is introduced in Krebs a. My earlier analyses of declamation in these songs appeared in Krebs , —74 and —77, respectively.

See the Appendix for a copy of the complete score, the text, and a translation. The recording technician was Mark Franklin. Halle uses such notation in many of his works on poetic stress; see, for example, Fabb and Halle Not all poems have two levels of stress; in some poems, all stresses are equal in weight. My analysis in Krebs , , shows only one level of stresses.