Mozart's 'Longing for Springtime,' Sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

'Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling' (Longing for Springtime)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, vocalist
Walter Gieseking, piano
Available on Arkivmusic.com

When we’re tired of winter, we long for spring, and even more so on days when it says spring on the calendar, but still feels like winter outdoors. Well, here’s a Mozart song for those days when it’s still not spring yet. It’s even called “Longing for Springtime.”

Mozart listed this little piece in the notebook of his compositions dated January 14, 1791. It was one of three tunes he cataloged on that winter day – all of them written for children. Now, the music is by Mozart, but not the words. They were written by a German poet, Christian Overbeck, and were published ten years before Mozart finished the song. The first line of the poem is, “Come, dear May, and make the trees green again!” The second verse admits that winter has its charms: snowy walks, sleigh rides, card games in the house. (A very mature point of view for a children’s song, I think.)

But the third verse pleads again for the return of mild weather and flowers and birds. Mozart wrote a charmer of a tune for it, so good he changed it up a little bit and used it as the theme of the last movement of his Piano Concerto No. 27. Here’s the song version now, sung by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, with Walter Gieseking playing the piano.

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  • This recording is provided courtesy of Warner Classics/Erato

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