I love …
- the poem’s brevity and form: the long and structured sentence which sets up the beauty of the location before asking the question, and then the simplicity of the answer
- how the 2 bar piano introduction, with its lack of movement and its falling 7th, sets up the peacefulness of the song but also suggests the question with its rising semitone
- the richer and winding harmonies which begin under the extended rising question phrase Welch ein Grab.. – portraying the extravagant abundance of nature and the subtle power of the Gods who have shaped it
- how the questioning rise in the voice at geziert? is echoed by the repeated rising semitone in the piano , until on Ruh it is joined by a gentle suspended downwards counterpart in the top voice of the piano, rendering the resolution light and gentle
- how the voice melody on Ruh likewise doesn’t land matter-of-factly on the tonic, but comes to a gentle rest on the dominant
- how in bar 18, as the postlude begins, instead of the soft high fluffy-cloud arpeggiated chords we’ve heard in the last beats of bars 3-6 and 15-17, the same movement is heard on a restful tonic chord in the warm, low range of the piano, and then immediately transforms into extended gentle peaceful winding around the resolved tonic until it comes to rest
Anakreons Grab (score available), by Hugo Wolf (Goethe-Lieder no. 29), text by Goethe. I recorded this song with Graham Johnson; you can hear the first minute of it (and the other tracks) if you visit Hyperion’s Wolf Goethe Lieder CD web page. There’s also a subtle, gentle rendition of it by Hans Hotter and Gerald Moore on YouTube.