Classical Music | Baritone

Franz Schubert

Des Sängers Habe  Play

Thomas Meglioranza Baritone
Reiko Uchida Piano

Recorded on 10/12/2004, uploaded on 01/18/2009

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Des Sängers Habe (“The Singer’s Possession”) by Franz von Schlecta, a school friend of Schubert, explores the connection between the artist and his art. For the singer, his zither is all that is important. All else could be taken from him; love and friendship could fail him. Yet, as long as he has his zither, he is “rich and happy.” Schubert set von Schlecta’s poem in February 1825. By this time, Schubert’s health was already in decline and it is possible Des Sängers Habe was his response to the illness that was slowing taking his life. His setting, however, is defiant. Bold octaves open the song and its B-flat major tonality is instantly thrown into flux with the appearance of D-flat in the first full measure. The vocal melody, emphasizing a dotted-eighth rhythm, is confident and presses on despite the troubled music that surrounds it. The defiant tone is abandoned at the beginning of the fifth stanza. The tonality shifts more towards B-flat minor and the music becomes more contemplative. The key of B-flat major is regained at the close of the sixth and final stanza and the song ends peacefully.     Joseph DuBose

Des Sängers Habe      Franz Schubert

Schlagt mein ganzes Glück in Splitter,

Nehmt mir alle Habe gleich,

Lasset mir nur meine Zither,

Und ich bleibe froh und reich.

Wenn des Grames Wolken ziehen,

Haucht sie Trost in meine Brust,

Und aus ihrem Golde blühen

Alle Blumen meiner Lust.

Freundschaft brechen ihre Pflicht,

Kann ich beide stolz entbehren,

Aber meine Zither nicht.

Reißet meines Lebens Sehne,

Wird sie mir ein Kissen sein,

lullen mich die süßen Töne

In den letzten Schlummer ein.

In den Grund des Tannenhaines

Senkt mich leise dann hinab;

Und statt eines Leichensteines

Stellt die Zither auf mein Grab,

Daß ich, wenn zum stillen Reigen,

Aus des Todes dunklem Bann,

Mitternachts die Geister steigen,

Ihre Saiten rühren kann.

--Franz Xavier Freiherr von Schlechta

The Minstrel's Treasure

Shatter my happiness,

Take from me all that I have,

Only leave me my zither

And I shall still be glad and rich.

When clouds of sorrow gather

It breathes comfort into my house.

From its golden strains blossom

All the flowers of my joy.

If love doesn't answer

And friendship fails in its duty,

I can proudly do without them both,

But not without my zither.

When the sinews of my life are torn

It will serve me as a pillow.

Its sweet songs will lull me

To my final slumber.

Then, in the grove of fir trees,

Quietly lay me down,

But instead of a tombstone

Place the zither on my grave.

So that at midnight

When the spirits from death's dark realm

To dance their silent round,

I can play on its strings.

--Franz Xavier Freiherr von Schlechta