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Summer holiday with Schubert’s Trout Quintet

Posted August. 05, 2014 04:16,   


I listen to Schubert’s Trout Quintet on a CD player from a headphone in the dead of night. Now, it is the fourth movement. After the Trout theme, the five musicians stop playing and I hear a chirping sound. It is small but definitely the sound of crickets.

I take off my headphone. I hear nothing. You are right. It was the chirping sound of crickets recorded at the concert.

The performance was recorded at the Marlboro Festival in the U.S. in 1967. Many masters played in the festival, such as pianist Rudolf Jerkin, violist Jaime Laredo, and cellist Leslie Parnas. Just like many other summer music festivals, the Marlboro Music Festival is also played on the grass. Crickets, the excellent musicians of the nature, might have wanted to join the beautiful harmony.

The Trout Quintet is a perfect piece for a summer holiday. In summer in the year of 1819, Schubert went to Steyr, a mountain village of Austria for a vacation. He was invited by Sylvester Paumgartner, a wealthy musician patron in the region. Paumgartner said to him, “I like your Lied Die Forelle (The Trout). Please compose a chamber work based on the melody so that my friends and I can play the music.” Schubert readily accepted it. That summer, amateur musicians played the music in the mountainous village with a creek. Two years ago, I had a summer vacation in Muju and found a restaurant specialized in trout. I ordered the menu and tasted it. It was good.

Brahms’ symphony no. 2, which was introduced last time for being similar to Mahler’s symphony no. 1, is also good for a vacation. The piece was written by Brahms in Portschach, a vacation spot surrounded by a lake and mountains in southern Austria in the summer of 1877. It reflects the beautiful nature. It includes the red sunset, the fresh air from the mountains, and even a part of his famous lullaby. It is good to listen at a medium volume while reading a book or enjoying a landscape, rather than concentrating on the music. I hope all of you enjoyed or will have a happy summer vacation.