31 March 2014

Schicksalslied

Wie Wasser von Klippe Zu Klippe geworfen 
Jahrlang in's Ungewisse hinab.
Though I always envied them and their well-coordinated ways, I was never a sports-kid growing up. I never played Little League or Pop Warner, and the truth is I really didn't want to.  I knew from the school playground that I lacked the innate abilities my friends possessed to catch and run and tackle and all else that was required to play ball-sports with finesse.  

But I've always loved to sing.  And it's my good fortune that many of my teachers recognized my passion for singing from an early age.  Despite the fact that my voice is neither golden nor unique, in lieu of membership on seasonal sports teams I have always felt at home as a member of a choir or an ensemble of singers.  I've been able to find interesting groups with which to sing pretty consistently throughout my life. 

Until quite recently I sang for several years with a small ensemble at our church.  It was also my great pleasure to sing for many years with the Master Chorale of Flagstaff.
Like water from thrown down from cliff to cliff forever,
Destined to disappear below.

We had the chance to learn and perform a number of great choral master-works during my time with the Chorale including Poulenc's Gloria, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and Brahms' Schicksalslied (to which I am listening as I write).  

The Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) is an especially awesome, evocative piece of music, and it springs to my mind often when I am out riding, especially whenever I am in the vicinity of streams of flowing water, as I was this past Sunday morning. 

I don't speak German, but I love the line Wie Wasser von Klippe Zu Klippe geworfen, Jaharlang in's Ungewisse hinab which I think literally means: like water thrown down from cliff to cliff forever, destined to disappear below


The Schicksalslied is an amazingly powerful and enchanting work to sing and the memory of rehearsing and performing it is seared into my mind. It will forever remain one of the high-points of my choral lifetime as well as an essential earworm while riding.


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