9.24.2021- so quiet and dark

so quiet and dark
star has flickered into dust
song has faded away

Down the rabbit hole again.

Listening to my favorite online radio station, a piece of music caught my ear and I was in time to access the play list.

I discovered I was listening to Schwanenlied or swan song written by Fanny Mendelssohn.

You read that right.

Fanny not Felix Mendelssohn.

Fanny is Felix’s little sister.

Into the google goes Fanny Mendelssohn.

The piece I had heard was a flute and harp version of a piece of music or lieder or simple song that according to wikipedia, Ms. Mendelssohn felt, as she wrote to her brother, “lieder suit me best.”

This version is hauntingly (love to use that word) arresting and somehow familiar.

Yet I never heard it before that I remember so how could it be familiar?

It also has words, sung in German of course but I have never had much luck listening to German lieder.

Silly but it may have to do with an episode of Cheers where Woody’s rich in-laws have a party where the entertainment is to be Kindertotenlieder … or Songs on the death of Children.

Just the look on Sam Malone’s face when the word Kindertotenlieder it is explained to him is worth the price of admission.

Anyway the words for Ms. Mendelsshon’s song were written by the German poet, Heinrich Heine.

I am not up on my German poetry but I defend myself saying, who is.

According to one critic, the text and music “resembles a lullaby. In its clear separation of melody and accompaniment it is akin to the style of many Songs Without Words, for piano solo, some composed by Hensel and some by Mendelssohn. Formally it is simple, like most Hensel settings, consisting of two strophes with the second slightly modified. That slight modification proves significant, however, for it fashions the climax of the song. (Historical Anthology of Music by Women, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847) by MARCIA J. CITRON – 1987 by Indiana University Press)

I am not sure what to say about using the poetical words of Heinrich Heine for a song without words but I am uneducated in these matters.

The words are simple:

A star falls down
From its twinkling height,
It is the star of love
That I see falling there.
So much falls from the apple tree,
From the white leaves;
The teasing breezes come
And urge on their game.

The swan sings in the pond,
And paddles up and down,
And singing more and more gently,
He disappears into the depths of the river.
It is so quiet and dark,
Scattered is leaf and blossom,
The star has flickered into dust,
The swan song has faded away.

Now the odd part of todays trip.

I was curious as to chicken-egg time of the term Swan Song.

Was it possible that this simple piece by Fanny Mendelssohn was the source of the term swan song as the swan of song of someone’s career?

The Google will tell you that Swan Song has become a euphuism for the final act of someone’s career but it is vague as when this started being used.

I continued down the rabbit hole to read this.

Swan Song as described by the online Merriam-Webster says that: Swans don’t sing. They whistle or trumpet, or in the case of the swan most common in ponds, the mute swan, they only hiss and snort. But according to ancient legend, the swan does sing one beautiful song in its life – just before it dies.

The swan sings one beautiful song in its life – just before it dies.

The swan song.

I wanted to know the name of a piece of music.

Sometimes the world wide web can be a beautiful thing.

so quiet and dark
star has flickered into dust
song has faded away

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s