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Ameling Sings Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen

January 9, 2010


During this big project of ripping my CD collection to flac, I listened to this lied again. And again. It’s like going back to the time when I first heard of this lied (& that’s long long time ago). I was completely thrilled by Elly Ameling’s voice. I also liked the lyrics. Now I  have that same feeling as before.

Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” (The Shepherd on the Rock) D 965 is a very long lied for soprano, clarinet and piano. It’s about 12 minutes long, with clarinet solo as the opening for more than 1.5 minute. During the whole lied, the clarinet plays equal part with soprano.

The lied consists of six verses, and can be divided by the changes of the emotion. In the first section a lonely shepherd sings on the top of mountain and listens to echoes from below. Then the shepherd express his grief and loneliness. In the next two sections, the shepherd looks forward to the coming of Spring and with its rebirth.

This piece was composed in 1828, not long before Schubert died, and is thought to be the last song Schubert composed. It is believed that Schubert wrote this lied for the operatic soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann for a concert aria, which would allow her to express a wide range of feelings. Therefore, this lied is quite different from other Schubert’s, much more operatic. You can notice this especially on the last lively section (the 2nd youtube clip).

Here are two youtube clips for you to try. (I recommend to get the CD-quality one. There’s a big difference)

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965 (text after Wilhelm Müller’s poem with the last two verses by Wilhelmina Christiane von Chézy)

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965
(text nach Wilhelm Müllers Gedicht, “Der Berghirt”)

Clarinet solo opening
(1:44 1st section)
**Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,
ins tiefe Thal herneider seh,
und singe, und singe,
fern aus dem tiefen, dunkeln Thal
schwingt sich empor der Wiederhall,
der Wiederhall der Klüfte.**

*Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt,
von unten, von unten.*
Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
drum sehn ich mich so heiß nach ihr
hinüber, hinüber.

(repeat *)

Clarinet solo

(repeat **)
[with a pause before the last sentence to indicate the change of the mood]

(5:37 2nd section)
In tiefem Gram verzehr’ ich mich,
mir ist die Freude hin,
auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
ich hier so einsam bin,
ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
so sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
***die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
mit wunderbarer Macht.***

(repeat ***)

Clarinet solo bridging the 2nd & the 3rd sections.

(8:42 3nd section)
Der Frühling will kommen,
der Frühling meine Freud,
nun mach ich mich fertig zum Wandern bereit.


Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
je heller sie mir widerklingt

(repeat from “Der Frühling…”)


The Shepherd on the Rock, D 965
(from Elly Ameling CD’s booklet)

(1:44 1st section)
When on the highest peak I stand
And look down into the valley below
And sing and sing,
Then from the distant vale’s dark depths
The echo soars up towards me,
The echo of the chasm.

The farther my voice carries,
The brighter it echoes back
From below, from far below.
My sweetheart lives so far away,
That’s why I long to be with her,
Such longing, o such longing!

(5:37 2nd section)
By deepest grief I am consumed,
I am robbed of every joy.
Hope has left me here on earth,
Left me full of loneliness.

The sound of longing was heard in the wood,
The sound of longing ran through the night,
Lifting hearts up to heaven
With miraculous power.

(8:42 3nd section)
But now Spring is on its way,
Spring, that gladdens my heart,
And I make myself ready
To go out walking.

The farther my voice carries,
The brighter it echoes back.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2012 11:12 am

    Your translation contains a slight mistake. In the stanza marked (5:37 2nd section), you’ve got the line “Lifting hears up to heaven,” which should be “Lifting hearts up to heaven.” 🙂 Not trying to nitpick, but since leaving the t out of “hearts” does actually leave a real word, it’s kind of confusing. Have a nice day!

    • August 2, 2012 11:16 am

      It’s not my translation. I made a typo. Thanks for pointing out. 🙂

  2. WGallagher permalink
    April 25, 2016 9:52 am

    Thank you for this. The recording was issued in 1969 and immediately garnered prizes. Ameling’s voice was perfect for it. The keyboard is a period instrument, a fortepiano [hammerflügel] played by Jörg Demus and the clarinetist Hans Deinzer, is absolutely brilliiant. It is still, IMHO, the best recording of this lied.

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