Sunday, May 20, 2007

True Beauty

Recordings of Bach's Ich Habe Genug (BWV 82), found their way into my player more often than other works lately. It contains one of the most beautiful arias ever written in history - Schlummert ein. Such exquisite charm. Listening to it never fails to melt me from inside. The recording by Hans Hotter and Peter Kooy are my personal favourites. Simplicity. That's what it needs. Somehow, he just allowed the music to sing by itself without imposing his own vocal and musical authority on the melodic line.

Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen,
Fallet sanft und selig zu!
The entire aria is summed up in the descending line "Fallet sanft und selig zu". It's just the most natural to allow that line to fade gradually into silence. A small flame flickering and dying out. Just fading into oblivion...

Welt, ich bleibe nicht mehr hier,
Hab ich doch kein Teil an dir,
Das der Seele könnte taugen.
Bach wrote these lines in such a way such that by the time it reaches the end of the respective phrases, one would just be able to sing "taugen" with just a whisper. I've been wondering why some singers would attempt to conserve their breath for the last few words, resulting instead, in the suffocation of the melodic line. In any case, it's just amazing how well this aria was written and phrased. Such sublime beauty. Whenever I listen to this work, it does give me a sense that Bach really have intended the singers to yield themselves to the melodic line and succumb to her beauty.

Beauty. That's what it's about. The beautification of death...


Hucbald said...

You have a real gift for analyzing the spirit of music, Jeff. I understand the tech details, but the essence in the analytical plane escapes me so far as formulating a descriptive narrative is concerned.


hautzeng said...

i agree. you really do have a gift for analysing music. always glad to see something new here!