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HOME>Multimedia>"Water Songs and Water Landscapes: Multimedia Show">Erlafsee
Erlaufsee and Gemeinde Alpe: a photo of Austria by Tomoko Yamamoto; this photo shows the reflection of the mountain Gemeinde Alpe in the lake water and cloud reflections, the lake surrounded by evergreen forest and a small beach

Erlaufsee and Gemeinde Alpe

Erlafsee    Lake Erla(u)f
Text: Johann Mayrhofer

Translation: Tomoko Yamamoto (©2006)
Mir ist so wohl, so weh 
Am stillen Erlafsee:
Mir ist so wohl, so weh
Am stillen Erlafsee:
Heilig Schweigen in Fichtenzweigen,
Regungslos der Blaue Schoss
Nur der Wolken Schatten flieh`n
Überm dunklen Spiegel hin,
Nur der Wolken Schatten flieh`n
Überm dunklen Spiegel hin,
Frische Winde kräuseln linde,
Das Gewässer, Das Gewässer
Frische Winde kräuseln linde,
Das Gewässer, Das Gewässer
Und der Sonne güldne Krone
Flimmert blässer, flimmert blässer
Frische Winde kräuseln linde,
Das Gewässer, Das Gewässer
Und der Sonne güldne Krone
Und der Sonne güldne Krone flimmert blässer
Mir ist so wohl, so weh
Am stillen Erlafsee.
Mir ist so wohl, so weh
Am stillen Erlafsee.
I feel so happy, but so sad
By the calm Lake Erlaf
I feel so happy, but so sad
By the calm Lake Erlaf
Sacred silence in spruce branches
Blue sky reflection is motionless
Only the shadows of clouds are fleeing
Over the dark mirror
Only the shadows of clouds are fleeing
Over the dark mirror
Fresh wind gently makes ripples
The water, the water
Fresh wind gently makes ripples
The water, the water
And the golden crown of the sun
Sparkles paler, sparkles paler
Fresh wind gently makes ripples
The water, the water
And the golden crown of the sun
And the golden crown of the sun sparkles paler
I feel so happy, but so sad
By the calm Lake Erlaf.
I feel so happy, but so sad
By the calm Lake Erlaf.

Description: The original poem of Erlafsee by Mayrhofer has a total of 36 lines, but Schubert chose to set only 14 of them. What he discarded were reflective and allegorical stanzas and Schubert kept those describing the scenes at Lake Erlaf which are impressionistic.

This song has a distinction of being the first Schubert song to be printed. It came out in a supplement to the almanac, Mahlerisches Taschenbuch für Freunde interessanter Gegenden, Natur- und Kunst-Merkwürdigkeiten der Oesterreichischen Monarchie. The editor was Franz Sartori and the date was Februay 6, 1818. The supplement contained a copper engraving of the lake, Erlafsee. The artist, Tomoko Yamamoto, traveled to see the lake and photograph it for this program in July, 2006. The lake is called the Erlaufsee, rather than the Erlafsee.

The song was composed in September 1817. The song, "Auf dem See" in this multimedia song program was composed earlier, in March 1817. The piano accompaniment includes triplet phrases in the 6/8 time in the first section of the song and the middle section starting with Frische Winde and ending with flimmert blässer has a triplet accompaniment throughout. These repetitive triplet accompaniment is similar to the one Schubert used in "An den Mond" (Hölty) two years prior. It is not clear why Schubert used this style of accompaniment for "Erlafsee" since this song is not a nocturne. However, under further inspection, the sun being described might be the one coming close to the horizon. At that time of the day, we can look at its large red ball and when it is hazy, the flare of the sun is more apparent. "Fresh wind" mentioned also indicates late afternoon when you start to feel a cool breeze.


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Note: The text shown above is the exactly the way Franz Schubert used the text when he set it to music including the repeats, which reflect the repeats in the music. The original text may not have repeating phrases.
Back to the Program Outline for "Water Songs and Water Landscapes: Multimedia Show" a program of songs and slides
Last Update: July 17, 2009