Sehnsucht (Longing): Symphonic Poem after Schiller (1895)
An early symphonic poem by German composer Siegfried Wagner (1869-1930), the son of Richard and Cosima Wagner, who studied composition with Engelbert Humperdinck. For over two decades, Siegfried Wagner directed, produced and conducted the Bayreuth Festival, dedicated to the operas of his famous father. While traveling in India and China with his friend Clement Harris, he was inspired to compose the Lisztian tone poem "Sehnsucht" based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller. It premiered in 1895 at the Queen's Hall in London; the work received only one more performance in 1896, and it was not heard again in Siegfried Wagner's lifetime. The score was lost until 1979, when his daughter Friedelind rediscovered it in a storeroom at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.
English translation of Schiller's poem:
"Ah, from the bottom of this valley, oppressed by cold mist, could I but find the way out, how happy I should be! There I see a fine rock, ever young, ever green! Had I wings, I would fly to the rocks. I hear music, the sweet sounds of Heaven and the gentle winds bring me the scent of balsam. I see golden fruits, among the dark leaves, and flowers that grow there, never to suffer winter. How beautiful it must be there in eternal sunshine; how refreshing the air on those heights! Yet the raging stream holds me back, angrily rushing on, with great waves that terrify my soul. I see a boat wavering, but ah, the ferryman fails. Again, without foundering, his sails are filled. You must believe, you must venture, for the gods give no pledge: only a miracle can carry you to the land of miracles."
Conductor: Werner Andreas Albert
Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra