AUF FLÜGELN DES GESANGES

The Wesendonck-Lieder of Richard Wagner (1813-83) are composed on poems written by Mathilde Wesendonck and constitute one of the most beautiful expressions of universal love. The artistic skills of the lovers, the composition and the poetry, are unified in one single creation. Mathilde Wesendonck was married and suffered due to her impossible love for Richard Wagner. The same context of an impossible love was the inspiration for the later Tristan und Isolde with the sublime Liebenstod-scene of Isolde in which earthly love evolves in transcendental love. Wesendonck-Lieder no. 3 Im Treibhaus and no. 5 Träume were a musical draft for this opera. I considered it would be interesting to complement the program of the Wesendonck Lieder, with some Lieder from the repertoire. We can find in the additional chosen pieces analogous perspectives as those opened by the poems of Mathilde Wesendonck. Im Treibhaus we notice the negative look on reality. The I-person believes there must be another place where she would be free. Therefore we can consider the Palmenhaus as a metafore for her own ‘Golden Cage’. In Schmerzen the I-person is suffering from the knowledge that what she had positively experienced is gone. At the end of the Wesendonck Lieder cycle she will find peace again. In Träume, no. 5 of the cycle, she can dream and she finds what she was longing for in Im Treibhaus. In that way we can see the last song as an answer on Im Treibhaus:

«Wohl, ich weiß es, arme Pflanze; Ein Geschicke teilen wir, Ob umstrahlt von Licht und Glanze, Unsre Heimat ist nicht hier! » - Im Treibhaus (M. Wesendonck)

«Träume, wie wenn Frühlingssonne Aus dem Schnee die Blüten küßt, Daß zu nie geahnter Wonne Sie der neue Tag begrüßt. » - Träume (M. Wesendonck)