soprano and 9 musicians

Orch. Gérard Grisey

In der Frühe - Um Mitternacht - Das verlassene Mägdlein - Nun wandre, Maria

Wolf Lieder, for soprano and nine-piece chamber ensemble, is Gérard Grisey’s orchestration of four songs by the late 19th century German composer Hugo Wolf (1860-1903.) In der Frühe, Um Mitternacht and Das verlassene Mägdlein are all from Wolf’s Mörike Lieder, the first of the great songbooks on which Wolf’s reputation rests. Eduard Mörike (1804-1875) was the bucolic author of naïve, idyllic and sometimes humourous poetry, whose art may have served as an escape from the extreme emotions that threatened to overwhelm him throughout his life. His poems inspired Wolf to write some of his most popular and endearing songs. Impressively, Wolf set all 53 of his Mörike Lieder within a few months in 1888, breaking a spell of writer’s block that had plagued him in preceding months. Wolf scholar Eric Sams wrote that Wolf’s settings of Mörike “often sound as if Mörike had been reborn as a musician.” Poems and music alike are resplendent with images of light and colour. Grisey chose to round out his choice of orchestrated Lieder with Nun wandre, Maria from Wolf’s Spanish songbook. Written between 1889-90, the poem hails from an era in which many composers sought sources of inspiration from the Iberian peninsula. The original text of Nun wandre, Maria is by Ocaña, the Spanish Renaissance era poet. It describes Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem. Mary, heavy with child and struggling, is offered encouraging words by Joseph who bolsters her faith and encourages her in the difficult pilgrimage.

Performance