Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Abendzauber, WAB 57

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Key  G-flat major
Language  German
Catalogue  WAB 57
Dedication  Carl Almeroth
Abendzauber, WAB 57
Text  Heinrich von der Mattig
Composed  15 January 1878 (1878-01-15): Vienna

Abendzauber (Evening magic), WAB 57, is a song composed by Anton Bruckner in 1878.



Bruckner composed the song on a text of Heinrich von der Mattig on 15 January 1878. He dedicated it to Carl Almeroth. The piece was not performed during the composer's life, because of its performance difficulties (humming voices). It was first performed in 1911 by Viktor Keldorfer with the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna men's choral association), and was thereafter published by the Universal Edition. It was very popular with Austrian choirs during the interbellum.

The work, of which the original manuscript is stored in the archive of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein, is issued in Band XXIII/2, No. 29 of the Gesamtausgabe.

Text and music

Abendzauber uses a text by Heinrich von der Mattig.

The 82-bar long work in G-flat major is scored for TTBB choir, tenor or baritone soloist. Similarly to Das hohe Lied, the first part (58 bars) is sung by the soloist with an accompaniment of humming voices. From "Wer könnte je vergessen", the melody is taken over by the choir. In addition, four horns are figuring Alphorns, and a Ferngesang (chant from a distance) of female voices is figuring yodelers.

The song, which is in the line of Mitternacht, WAB 80, and the two settings of Um Mitternacht (WAB 89 and 90), is a remarkable example of nature imagery. Bruckner's specialist Ernst Kurth considers this original, somewhat odd piece as one Bruckner's most romantic works.

Selected discography

The first recording of Abendzauber was by Bryan Fairfax, with Alfred Orda (tenor), the BBC Chorus and the horns of the London Symphony Orchestra, Szymanowski - Bruckner - Schumann. A Choral Anthology – CD: Symposium Records 1423 (4 September 1960)

A selection of the few other recordings:

  • Rolf Beck, Markus Krause (baritone), Süddeutsches Vokalensemble and horn ensemble Marie Luise Neunecker, Romantische Chormusik – CD:Koch Schwann 3 1398-2 H1, 1994
  • Timothy Seelig, Timothy Jenkins (tenor), Turtle Creek Chorale and Fort Worth Symphony Brass, Times of the Day – CD: Reference Recordings RR-67, 1995
  • Jan Schumacher, Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Camerata Musica Limburg, Serenade. Songs of night and love – CD: Genuin GEN 12224, 2011 - with male "yodelers"
  • References

    Abendzauber, WAB 57 Wikipedia

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