It’s high time we got real about spring. Every year, whether from social media, the self help section of the bookstore, the pulpit, or straight from Mother Nature herself, we are bombarded with messages of rebirth and hope. The rising temperatures and hemlines seem like a betrayal of the emotional and physical calluses we’ve built up after a grueling work season. With the onset of spring and summer, we are made to feel like the lessons we’ve learned from the myriad challenges of the (very) recently passed cold dark months should have by now coalesced into neat little packages of strength and wisdom to be saved for next year. What happens when we open our windows, schedules cleared, only to find the same yearning and Unheimlichkeit (uncanniness) of past seasons remain?
I often ask our artists to answer this question: Why is art song important? It’s a question that is hard to answer in words. Rather, the answer reveals itself through emotional connection. In discovering Hugo Wolf’s song “Im Frühling” (In Spring) on a text by Eduard Mörike, I was imparted an answer. Disclaimer: listening to this song and digesting the text will not motivate you to dust off your running shoes and go for a jog along the Charles. It will probably not help you stick to your diet, get enough sleep, or call your mother more often. But it may comfort you, as it did me.
Performers: Irmgard Seefried and Viktor Graef
Song: “Im Frühling” (In Spring)
Composer: Hugo Wolf
Poet: Eduard Mörike
Translation: Eric Sams
Cover art: The Flowering Orchard by Vincent Van Gogh