Schubert: Auf dem Strom, D. 943

🎼🎶 Monday, June 28, 2021

March 26, 1828 was the first anniversary of the death of Ludwig van Beethoven, and was also the date of the sole public concert given by Franz Schubert. Among the works premiered on that occasion was “Auf dem Strom” (On the River), a lovely song of farewell set for voice, piano, and horn. At the start of the second verse, Schubert subtly weaves in the “Funeral March” theme from Beethoven’s Third Symphony as a tribute to the great master. Schubert would himself pass away in November of that same year.

On the River

(Translated by Richard Wigmore)

Take these last farewell kisses,
and the wafted greetings
that I send to the shore,
before your foot turns to leave.
Already the boat is pulled away
by the waves’ rapid current;
but longing forever draws back
my gaze, clouded with tears.

And so the waves bear me away
with relentless speed.
Ah, already the meadows
where, overjoyed, I found her have disappeared.
Days of bliss, you are gone for ever!
Hopelessly my lament echoes
round the fair homeland
where I found her love.

See how the shore flies past,
and how mysterious ties
draw me across
to a land by yonder cottage,
to linger in yonder arbour.
But the river’s waves rush onwards,
without respite,
bearing me on towards the ocean.

Ah, how I tremble with dread
at that dark wilderness,
far from every cheerful shore,
where no island can be seen!
No song can reach me from the shore
to bring forth tears of gentle sadness;
only the tempest blows cold
across the grey, angry sea.

If my wistful, roaming eyes
can no longer descry the shore,
I shall look up to the stars
there in the sacred distance.
Ah! By their gentle radiance
I first called her mine;
there, perhaps, O consoling fate,
there I shall meet her gaze.

Auf dem Strom, Op. 119, D. 943
  • John Scialdone
    published this page in Daily Beethoven 2021-06-28 13:36:47 -0400

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