Der Abend


Duration: 6′

2222/4200/timp, 1 perc/str, solo sop

Please contact composer for hire of parts.

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Der Abend

for soprano and orchestra, by Anne-Marie O’Farrell. Programme note:

Der Abend (The Evening) is a setting of extracts from a longer poem of the same name by Friedrich Schiller, whose poetry is also the basis for the final movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. I sought to create a vivid contrast to the volume and force of climactic parts of Beethoven’s work, focusing instead on quiet transformation of timbres and harmonies. Schiller’s poem depicts the ever-shifting colours and light of sunset, as well as a longing for the view on the opposite side of the globe where sunlight is the dawn. In the poem this becomes an allegory for the sacred presence of the Divine. During Beethoven’s lifetime nature was used by artists as a powerful symbol of the emotions, and Schiller’s Der Abend is typical in this respect, expressing the oneness between the individual and the beauty of the natural world. Der Abend received its premiere by the Co-Orchestra conducted by John Doyle with soprano soloist Colette Delahunt on 21st June, 2017 at Dublin’s CHQ Building;

Translation of Schiller’s text:
With heroic perfection the sun shows
Her evening view to the deep valley
(For others, ah, happy worlds
It is a morning scene),
It sinks below from a blue sky
Calling activity to rest,
Its farewell stills the busy world
And bids the day its end.

Ah, how the weary rays departing
Paint the surging clouds
How the evening clouds
Bathe there in the bosom of silver waves;
How it enchants me, this view!

Soon you will fly to the purple-winged throne
Your unstinting gaze ever deepening,
Brighter still angel harps are sounding;
There it is evening no more, no darkness,
There is the Lord, and eternity.
(trans. Anne-Marie O’Farrell)

Original text by Schiller:
Der Abend
Die Sonne zeigt, vollendend gleich dem Helden,
Dem tiefen Tal ihr Abendangesicht,
(Für andre, ach! glückselgre Welten
Ist das ein Morgenangesicht),
Sie sinkt herab vom blauen Himmel,
Ruft die Geschäftigkeit zur Ruh,
Ihr Abschied stillt das Weltgetümmel
Und winkt dem Tag sein Ende zu.

Ha! wie die müden Abschiedsstrahlen
Das wallende Gewölk bemalen,
Wie dort die Abendwolken sich
Im Schoß der Silberwellen baden;
O Anblick, wie entzückst du mich!
Doch bald wirst du zum Thron die Purpurflügel schwingen,
Dein kühner Blick noch tiefer, tiefer dringen,
Und heller noch die Engelharfe klingen;
Dort ist nicht Abend mehr, nicht Dunkelheit,
Der Herr ist dort und Ewigkeit!

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