One particularly delightful holiday took place in 1825 when Schubert tramped the Tyrols with well-known Court opera singer, Johann Michael Vogl (1768-1840).
Franz Peter Schubert
While in the mountains with Vogl, Schubert created the lied least understood by the general public, but which today is the most popular of all his compositions, the so-called Ave Maria. Although this song is widely performed all over the world, the text most commonly used with Schubert's music is not the poem the composer originally set to music. The Latin "Ave Maria" prayer text is commonly forced to fit Schubert's notes, and it almost succeeds with a few awkward places here and there. However, the text of the "Hail Mary" prayer bears little resemblance to the original poem of this lied. It is unknown who first forced this setting, but it is a fact that the song with its "adapted" Latin words is now the version most commonly performed. What Schubert actually wrote, he called Ellens dritter Gesang (Ellen's third song). The words are from a German translation of a work by Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake, and Schubert set six or seven songs from this work. In this particular scene Ellen Douglas, in hiding, prays to the Virgin Mary. Schubert's setting was a simple lied for voice with piano accompaniment.
Ellens Gesang III (Ellen's Song III
[Ave Maria]) Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Translated by Adam Storck D 839 (Spring 1825) First Published in 1826 as Op. 52, No. 6.
as set by Schubert
from "The Lady of the Lake"
|Ave Maria! Jungfrau
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen,
Aus diesem Felsen starr und wild
Soll mein Gebet zu dir hinwehen.
Wir schlafen sicher bis zum Morgen,
Ob Menschen noch so grausam sind.
O Jungfrau, sieh der Jungfrau Sorgen,
O Mutter, hör ein bittend Kind!
Listen to a maiden's prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish'd, outcast and reviled -
Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
|Ave Maria! Unbefleckt!
Wenn wir auf diesen Fels hinsinken
Zum Schlaf, und uns dein Schutz bedeckt
Wird weich der harte Fels uns dünken.
Du lächelst, Rosendüfte wehen
In dieser dumpfen Felsenkluft,
O Mutter, höre Kindes Flehen,
O Jungfrau, eine Jungfrau ruft!
|Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share
Shall seem this down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, list a suppliant child!
|Ave Maria! Reine Magd!
Der Erde und der Luft Dämonen,
Von deines Auges Huld verjagt,
Sie können hier nicht bei uns wohnen,
Wir woll'n uns still dem Schicksal beugen,
Da uns dein heil'ger Trost anweht;
Der Jungfrau wolle hold dich neigen,
Dem Kind, das für den Vater fleht.
|Ave Maria! stainless
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,
Beneath thy guidence reconciled;
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,
And for a father hear a child!
The German text that Schubert set to music is not a perfect translation, but a fairly close one. The lied may have first been performed at the home of Sophie Weissenwolff, who made it clear that she would like the dedication, and she received it. Countess Weissenwolff subsequently became known as "the lady of the lake."
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|This page was last updated December 27, 2006.|