LIEDER ON SIX STRINGS
Allen Krantz, guitarist for Humming and Strumming, says Schubert is like a fine consommé, and Brahms is… how did he put it? A potage? A thick stew? A cassoulet? I can’t remember exactly, but you’re getting the point, and I’m getting hungry.
Nevertheless, I am here to tell you that some of these songs can be well served by reducing them to the lean and long six strings of the guitar. Well served, indeed!
Our program includes a satisfying group of Lieder on the guitar: two Schubert songs, one Schumann, one Brahms and an utterly charming Mendelssohn duet that serves as, forgive me, dessert. Imagine THIS with guitar…
We’re doing Schubert’s famous Ständchen and his exuberant Der Musensohn, plucked and not hammered. Of all the Lieder, the Schubert songs are certainly the most idiomatic for guitar. In fact, it is believed that Schubert probably played the guitar himself, and many of his songs were published with guitar versions in his own lifetime.
This allows me to digress to my favorite subject. Song For All. Back in the day, the guitar and piano were “house instruments,” and of an evening in Vienna, house music-making was a common form of entertainment – the Netflix of the day, shall we say. A little more social. Thus, “Classical” songs were sung at home, casually, shared with friends, for friends, at the fire after dinner, with a glass of wine or a beer…
I miss those days.
Getting back on track, Schumann and Brahms and Mendelssohn clearly had the piano in mind when they composed their Lieder, but if you select wisely, and/or are clever enough to do it, transcriptions for the guitar can work. Just ask Allen. I did on our podcast chat, where we talk about all things guitar–voice related. You can listen Here if you have time. If you just want to hear a piano song lovingly transcribed for guitar by Allen, cue up to 20:58 where we do Brahms’s setting of the Swabian folksong Da unten im Tale.
Allen takes on an even bigger project when he transcribes Widmung by Robert Schumann. It’s amazing how beautifully that one works for guitar and voice. And Emily Drummond sings it spectacularly.
Join us on April 3rd or 4th for an intimate concert of guitar songs!
Yours until we hum and strum together,