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Schubert-related Programs Schubert's 1825 Travel with Photos"Water Songs and Water Landscapes," Multimedia Show "Blumen in Wien:Multimedia-Flöte-Liederabend"

a swan glides creating waves, Wasserpark, Vienna, Austria, Photo by Tomoko Yamamoto
Mitten im Schimmer der spiegelnden Wellen gleitet, wie Schwäne, der wankende Kahn
Ach, auch der Freude sanftschimmernden Wellen gleitet die Seele dahin wie der Kahn
denn von dem Himmel herab auf die Wellen tanzet das Abendrot rund um den Kahn.
A boat glides on the Neue Donau in the evening glow, Vienna, Austria, Photo by Tomoko Yamamoto A boat glides in the red evening glow on the Neue Donau, Vienna, Austria, Photo by Tomoko Yamamoto
Photos and Copyright by Tomoko Yamamoto

Auf dem Wasser zu singen

Text: Leopold Graf zu Stollberg
Translation by © Tomoko Yamamoto

Mitten im Schimmer der spiegelnden Wellen
Gleitet, wie Schwäne, der wankende Kahn;
Ach, auf der Freude sanftschimmernden Wellen
Gleitet die Seele dahin wie der Kahn,
Ach, auf der Freude sanftschimmernden Wellen
Gleitet die Seele dahin wie der Kahn;
Denn von dem Himmel herab auf die Wellen
Tanzet das Abendrot rund um den Kahn,
Tanzet das Abendrot rund um den Kahn.

Über den Wipfeln des westlichen Haines
Winket uns freundlich der rötliche Schein;
Unter den Zweigen des östlichen Haines
Säuselt der Kalmus im rötlichen Schein,
Unter den Zweigen des östlichen Haines
Säuselt der Kalmus im rötlichen Schein;
Freude des Himmels und Ruhe des Haines
Atmet die Seel im errötenden Schein,
Atmet die Seel im errötenden Schein.

Ach, es entschwindet mit tauigem Flügel
Mir auf den wiegenden Wellen die Zeit.
Morgen entschwinde mit schimmerndem Flügel
Wieder wie gestern und heute die Zeit,
Morgen entschwinde mit schimmerndem Flügel
Wieder wie gestern und heute die Zeit,
Bis ich auf höherem strahlenden Flügel
Selber entschwinde der wechselnden Zeit,
Selber entschwinde der wechselnden Zeit.
In the midst of the shimmer of reflecting waves
Like swans, glides the bouncing rowboat
Ah, over the joyous, gently-shimmering waves
Glides the soul like the rowboat.
Ah, over the joyous, gently-shimmering waves
Glides the soul like the rowboat.
From the heaven on down the waves
Dances the evening glow around the boat
Dances the evening glow around the boat

Above the top of the western grove
Friendly greets us the red glow;
Below the branches of the eastern grove
The reeds rustle in the red glow.
Below the branches of the eastern grove
The reeds rustle in the red glow.
Heavenly joy and the peace of the groves
The soul breathes in the evening glow,
The soul breathes in the evening glow.

Ah, disappears from me with the dewey wings
On rocking waves, flies the time
Disappears tomorrow on shimmering wings
Just like yesterday and today, flies the time.
Disappears tomorrow on shimmering wings
Just like yesterday and today, flies the time.
Until I myself on more highly radiant wings
Flee from the changing time.
Flee from the changing time.

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.

The poet, Leopold Graf zu Stollberg, was with Goethe on his trip to Zurich and the lake. We don`t know where he was when he wrote this poem. Swans are everywhere on rivers and lakes in Austria and Switzerland. The last and third stanza is somewhat puzzling as to the intention of the poet. He says "I myself will put on the shining wings and fly away like the time."

Maureen Schafer has written a "macro analysis of the music of "Auf dem Wasser zu singen." She analyzed its key progression structure and suggests that Schubert's use of harmonic progressions and rhythmic patterns musically illustrates the theme of this poem. The whole song including the piano prelude and postlude begins in a-flat minor and ends in A-flat major, but each stanza (song part) begins in a-flat minor and ends in A-flat major, which repeats twice.


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Back to the Program Outline, "Water Songs and Water Landscapes: Multimedia Show".

Keywords: Auf dem Wasser zu singen, Lied, Franz Schubert, Leopold Graf zu Stollberg, swans, Himmel, Freude, Kalmus, Schimmer, Kahn, Welle, Spiegel, Wasser, Vienna, Wien, Wasserpark, Neue Donau, Austria, boat, gliding, harmonic progressions, key structure, major, minor, A-flat, translation, interpretation, Tomoko Yamamoto


Last Update: November 23, 2017