commentary to opus 71c
Herbsttag (Rainer Maria Rilke) for Medium Voice and Piano, op. 71c (1980)
performance: March 17, 1987 / Würzburg / Toscanasaal der Residenz
Duration: 3 Minutes
Publisher: free download:
Autumn Day on a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, composed for the 60th birthday of a musicologist friend, sets another characteristic accent in what has been, since the Storm-Lieder, such a central theme for Hummel. Its ambivalence (Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein)(Command that the last fruits be full) is reflected musically in the use of false relations and the corresponding changes between major and minor. In this, however, mild thirds and sixths, unusual for Hummel, become part of the process. The composer is successful in including the dynamics of form and content in Rilkes stanzas ("growing" in the lines 3, 4 and 5) under one musical bow. The inner climax is the end of the second stanza, i.e. the only line which Hummel repeats: Die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein (The last sweetness in the heavy wine.) In the broad periodicity of its sequences (derived melodically from the phrase more südlichere Tage (southern days) heard just before), this is one of the moments in which melodic qualities in Hummel's songs become impressively manifest.
Wolfgang Osthoff (in "Zu den Liedern Bertold Hummels", Tutzing, 1998)
Herr: es ist Zeit.
Der Sommer war sehr groß.
Rainer Maria Rilke
This translation is by M. D. Herter Norton 1938:
is time. The summer was very big.