Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

To Sing on the Water


Photograph of the rippling, shimmering water of a lake as seen from a kayak

Sometimes, you have to get out of the office. Way out of the office.  Or just away.  To a place where there are no computers, no connectivity, no cell phone coverage.  No chargers, no chatter, no cable.

The middle of a large body of water is optimal.

Sunshine and breezes on a beautiful day can go a long way toward recharging your own battery, and the shimmer of a beautiful lake, the splash of water as your boat travels along are incomparable antidotes for the noise and bustle of a busy life.  And we’re all busy, too busy, always aware of the ticking clock, the march of time.

All this hustle and bustle might seem to be a modern phenomenon, but really it’s not.  People have been escaping to nature for a very long time.

Schubert, ah Schubert!  He knew; of course, he knew.  In his song Auf dem Wasser zu singen. Schubert sets to music a poem of Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg-Stolberg that describes a boat trip at evening and reflects on the passage of time.  The piano ripples like the water, and the play of light and shadow at evening is reflected in Schubert’s characteristic shifts between major and minor keys.  The poet also notes the passage of time: each day time escapes, flying away.  But he is not disturbed, as he says that he will take wing and escape from time someday.

Here is Schubert’s Auf dem Wasser zu singen, performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore.


Image attribution:  Photograph by C. Gallant, 2015.

6 thoughts on “To Sing on the Water

  1. Painfully gorgeous offering from Fish Dish and Franz.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s beautiful, both the piano playing and the singing. I went and sat by a river today. I enjoyed the breeze and felt the calm. But, I was playing Bach softly on my phone….a soothing use of technology!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you tried the piano-only version by Bertrand Chamayou? A wonderful recording.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the Schubert transcriptions by Liszt are arguably his (Liszt’s) finest work. They are all beautiful, charming, utterly Schubertian, and appropriately difficult to play. This performance, although perhaps a little too bravura and losing some of the charm, is still very nice. Thank you for adding it!

    Liked by 1 person

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