Loreley, symphonic poem
Friedrich Klose – Loreley – Symphonic Tone Poem (1884)
(b. Karlsruhe, 29 November 1862 – d. Ruvigliana, 24 December 1942)
I know not if there is a reason
Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.
The air is cool under nightfall.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening’s final ray.
The fairest of maidens is sitting
So marvelous up there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She’s combing her golden hair.
She combs with a comb also golden,
And sings a song as well
Whose melody binds a wondrous
And overpowering spell.
In his little boat, the boatman
Is seized with a savage woe,
He’d rather look up at the mountain
Than down at the rocks below.
I think that the waves will devour
The boatman and boat as one;
And this by her song’s sheer power
Fair Lorelei has done.
Friedrich Klose was born in in Karlsruhe on November 29, 1862. Although he began studying the violin he was frustrated by the harmonic limitations of the instrument and was soon composing works of his own. He was inspired quite deeply by Wagner, having received a copy of the Lohengrin score as a present from his family when he was 16. He began to study music in earnest with Felix Mottl and then Vinzenz Lachner, with whom he did not see eye to eye on harmony or composition technique. He moved to Geneva to study at the university, and learned counterpoint with Adolf Ruthardt. Mottl suggested he try to study with Bruckner in Vienna which became reality in 1886, the same year Klose took Swiss citizenship. His compositional life was relatively short, since he composed slowly and methodically, and because he essentially gave up composing in 1919 when he finished his teaching position in Munich which he had had since 1907. Klose devoted the rest of his life to writing, including the much-cited work about his years studying with Bruckner. He was known for his orchestration, his programmatic works, and his opera, Ilsebill. Klose died in 1942.
Loreley is Klose’s symphonic tone poem about the lovely lady who waits on a cliff overlooking the Rhine and lures sailors to their death. At the time there were many other composers and artists inspired by this idea. On the title leaf Klose writes that he was inspired by the oil-painting of Wilhelm Kray (Germany, 1828-1889). Kray’s work was in several exhibitions at the time. One of Klose’s teachers, Luigi Provesi born in 1857, a cellist and pianist at the Geneva conservatory, was interested in an overture by Klose called “König Elf” and took it upon himself to organize a public performance of it. Provesi gave technical suggestions and helped considerably with the orchestration, but when the material was ready Klose refused to allow the performance because he did not feel it was his own composition anymore. Instead he wrote, in only 14 days, the symphonic poem Loreley, and the successful performance in Genf in 1884 was well received. …
Full preface / Komplettes Vorwort > HERE