Robert Schumann

Waldesgespräch ("Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt"), song for voice & piano (Liederkreis), Op. 39/3

    Description by Meredith Gailey

    Written in 1840, Robert Schumann's "Waldesgespräch," Op. 39, No. 3 (Conversation in the Forest), is one of two sinister forest scenes found in the cycle Liederkreis, Op. 39. This dramatic and animated work is based on the Loreley myth, as explored in the poetry of Eichendorff. Upon ignorantly entering a haunted forest, a man is deceived by what he believes is a beautiful lost bride and offers to escort her out. But during a brief conversation her demonic constitution is revealed, and she declares that he is eternally trapped in the dark woods. The composer's primary musical focus is the conflicting natures of the two characters. He chose to portray the strength of the man with dynamic horn motives, and used a harp for the Loreley's ballad-like role. In addition, Schumann uses the power of a key change to emphasize their dissimilar moral codes and personalities. However, this structure is forfeited in the second verse so that the song may end in its home key of E major. Schumann appropriately reused this key in "Loreley," Op. 53/2, from Romanzen und Balladen, Vol. III, also composed in 1840. With the exception of a diminished dominant seventh chord used to signify the Loreley's grief, the melody and harmony of "Waldesgespräch" are based on the simple alternation of the tonic, subdominant, and dominant. The second forest theme of Liederkreis appears in "Zwielicht," Op. 39/10, a frightful warning of the terrors of the night.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2017
    Avie
    AV 2368
    2016
    Challenge Classics
    CC 72687
    2015
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    95020BR
    2012
    Acanta
    233650
    2011
    EMI Classics
    2011
    Brilliant Classics
    94060
    2011
    Challenge Classics
    CC 72518
    2010
    Documents
    233039
    2009
    Regis Records
    1313
    2006
    Naxos Historical
    8111093
    2000
    Gasparo Records
    345
    1998
    Campanella
    130014
    1998
    Preiser Records
    89159
    1995
    Orfeo
    140301
    1995
    Orfeo
    31821
    1995
    BMG
    74321266172
    1994
    Pearl
    GEMMCD9119
    1991
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
    77085
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
    26616
    EMI Music Distribution
    567675
    Canterino
    1066
    Documents
    223213303