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Schubert: Abendstern

To start off my week of blogs, I wanted to feature the first song I ever sang for Maestro Blier. This somber poem by Johann Mayrhofer asks the prettiest star in the sky why it stays secluded, not joining the other stars around him. The star replies that it is because all the other stars don’t want the kind of love he has to offer and, no matter how hard he tries, they will never accept him.

I’ll never forget that first coaching with Steve when he opened my eyes to the depth of this song when it is projected next to Schubert’s personal life. Schubert was beloved by Vienna’s elite for his Schubertiaden (house gatherings which often centered around performances of the composer’s music.) Of course the gay, twenty-seven year old Schubert––who, despite his social popularity, couldn’t find anyone to unconditionally share his love––saw himself as the lonely star in Mayrhofer’s poem.

Here is a video of Matthias Goerne and Helmut Deutsch performing Abendstern:

Why do you linger alone in the sky,
o beautiful star? and you are so mild;
why does the sparkling crowd
of your brothers shun your sight?
“I am the star of true love,
and they keep far away from Love.”

So you should go to them,
if you are love; do not delay!
Who could then withstand you,
you sweet but stubborn light?
“I sow, but see no shoot,
and so I remain here, mournful and still.”

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