Friday, June 28, 2013

Preview: A little more of "The Flying Dutchman" -- we hear from the sailors


WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman: End of Act I, Daland, "Hei! Wie die Segel schon sich blähn" ("Hey, how the sails are already filling!") . . . Sailors, "Mit Gewitter und Sturm" ("Through thunder and storm")
DALAND [going aboard his ship]:
Hey, how the sails are already filling!
Hallo! Hallo!
[He gives a signal on his whistle.]
Quick, lads, cast off!
SAILORS [as they sail off]:
Through thunder and storm, through distant seas
I draw near, my lass! Hurrah!
Through towering waves, from the south
I am here, my lass! Hurrah!
My girl, were there no south wind,
I could never come to you:
Oh, dear south wind, blow once more!
My lass longs for me!
Ho! Ho! Ho, yo-lo-ho!
Ho ho ho ho ho!
Ho! Ho! Ho, yo-lo-ho! Ho ho ho ho ho ho!

Hans Sotin (bs), Daland; Vienna State Opera Concert Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph von Dohnányi, cond. Decca, recorded March-Nov. 1991

by Ken

Two weeks ago, in our Father's Day special, we made the acquaintance of the Norwegian sea captain Daland in Wagner's Flying Dutchman -- first (barely) surviving a sudden, violent storm just as his ship is nearing home port, in sight of his own house; then introducing his cherished daughter, Senta, to an eminently marriageable fellow sea captain he has met by the most remarkable chance.

The gentleman caller is in fact none other than the legendary Flying Dutchman, doomed to sail the seas until he finds redemption through love. Only the Dutchman turns out to be not a legend but a flesh-and-blood man, and one who could provide for Senta better than Daland could have dared hope. In our excerpt above, after Daland and the Dutchman have gotten to know each other under these bizarre circumstances and the Dutchman has agreed to call on Senta, the sailors have been roused by the sudden rising -- finally! -- of a south wind, the wind that will take them home. What we've heard is in fact the end of Act I.


IF THIS MUSIC SOUNDS FAMILIAR (BUT DIFFERENT) . . .

It should. Let's hark back to the Steersman's Song early on in Act I, after the furor of the opening storm has subsided, and Daland, the ship's captain, as well as the rest of the crew, have gone below decks to get some much-needed sleep, leaving the equally exhausted Steersman to stand watch. We heard my three favorite Steersmen in the earlier post, but here's another quite fine one. (All three of our excerpts tonight are from the Dohnányi-Decca Dutchman.)

WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman: Act I, Steersman's Song
The STEERSMAN is alone on deck. The storm has abated somewhat and returns only at sporadic intervals. He rouses himself as sleep comes over him.

STEERSMAN: Through thunder and storm, through distant seas
I draw near, my lass!
Through towering waves, from the south
I am here, my lass!
My girl, were there no south wind,
I could never come to you:
Oh, dear south wind, blow once more!
My lass longs for me!
Hohoye! Hallohoho! Yolohohoho!
[A wave breaks against the ship, shaking it violently. The STEERSMAN starts up and looks around. Having satisfied himself that no harm has been done, he sits down again and sings, while sleep gradually overcomes him.]
On southern shores, in distant lands,
I have thought of you;
through storm and sand, from Moorish strands
a gift I have brought for you.
My girl, praise the fair south wind,
for I bring you a golden ring!
Ah, dear south wind, then blow!
My lass would fain have her gift.
Hohoye! Hollaho!
[He struggles with his fatigue and finally falls asleep.]
-- based on a translation by Lionel Salter

Uwe Heilmann (t), Steersman; Vienna State Opera Concert Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph von Dohnányi, cond. Decca, recorded March-Nov. 1991

HINT: This could be a good time to go back and relisten to the clip of the end of Act I.


LET'S HEAR MORE FROM THE SAILORS

We jump now from the end of Act I to the first musical business of Act III, where we find the sailors doing some serious on-land unwinding.

The Flying Dutchman: Act III, Sailors' Chorus and Dance
SAILORS [drinking]: Steersman! Leave the watch!
Steersman! Here with us!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Hoist the sail! Drop anchor!
Steersman! Here!
Fearing neither wind nor dangerous shore
today will be right merry!
Each one has his sweetheart on land.
Splendid tobacco and good brandy wine!
Hussassa hey!
Crag and storm out there --
Yollolo hey! --
we laugh at!
Hussassa hey!
Furl sail! Anchor fast! Crag and storm we laugh at!
Steersman, here! Drink with us!
Hey! Hussa hey! Hallo hey!
[They dance on the deck, accompanying the downbeat of each bar with a heavy stamp of the feet. The GIRLS arrive with baskets full of food and drink.]

Vienna State Opera Concert Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph von Dohnányi, cond. Decca, recorded March-Nov. 1991


THERE'S A REASON WHY WE'VE HEARD THE
END OF ACT I AND THE START OF ACT III


Partly we're preparing to add just a bit to our earlier musical portrait of Daland, via the end of Act II, which we'll be hearing in this week's Sunday Classics post. And partly we're going to be looking at the ways in which Wagner has joined Acts I and II and Acts II and III, with some more general notes relative to the Case of the Vanishing Intermissions. Which actually doesn't apply to Dutchman, but never mind. [Didn't happen. Maybe sometime soon.]


VISIT THE STAND-ALONE SUNDAY CLASSICS WITH KEN
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