16 August 2005

franz schubert - "du bist die ruh'," d. 766 (soprano, gundula janowitz)

whenever i feel like i've reached the end of popular music, i tend to find my haven in classical music. there's something reassuring about this august edifice, standing s(t)olid for centuries, indifferent to the caprices of contemporary taste; it seems, in a word, inexhaustible.

pop is, of course, not indifferent to classical, from sinatra's "if you are but a dream" (rubinstein's "romance" for piano in e flat major) to eric carmen's "all by myself" (rachmaninoff's piano concerto no. 2 in c minor) to, erm, andrea bocelli. and also to "franz schubert," which many of you transpotters might recall, is a song by kraftwerk, an homage to the composer that ends with a digitized voice intoning "endless," a suggestion perhaps that the interplay between the past and the present is just that.

"du bist die ruh'" (literally, "you are rest") is highly accessible--also highly intimate, highly gorgeous, highly poignant, but not highly available (gundula janowitz's rapturous interpretation is sadly out-of-print.) schubert's collected lieder make, in this novice's opinion, for the easiest access-point for the pop fan, along w/ strauss's four last songs, into the art song. perfect for those who find opera's excesses distasteful; perfect, also, for anyone who wishes to further cultivate their knowledge of beauty.

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