Die Forelle (German: “The Trout”) this beautiful song was composed for voice and piano by Franz Schubert around 1817. The words were written by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart. It is probably the most well-known of the approximately 600 songs composed by Schubert.
The song provides us with the perspective of a passer-by who stops and watches the “happy little fish” swimming in the river. But soon a fisherman arrives, sets up his rod and tackle and goes about catching the trout, much to the dismay of our passer-by.
It is always interesting to witness Schubert’s mastery of the genre by allowing his music to portray the emotions of the passer-by. At first, we sense their pleasure in the creature’s freedom and ultimately their dismay and anger as they empathize with the dying fish.
I do hope you enjoy my rendition of this fabulous song.
Original text in German :
In einem Bächlein helle, Da schoss in froher Eil’ Die launische Forelle Vorueber wie ein Pfeil. Ich stand an dem Gestade Und sah in süsser Ruh’ Des muntern Fishleins Bade Im klaren Bächlein zu. Ein Fischer mit der Rute Wohl an dem Ufer stand, Und sah’s mit kaltem Blute Wie sich das Fischlein wand. So lang dem Wasser helle So dacht’ ich, nicht gebricht, So fängt er die Forelle Mit seiner Angel nicht. Doch endlich ward dem Diebe Die Zeit zu lang. Er macht das Bächlein tückisch trübe, Und eh’ ich es gedacht So zuckte seine Rute Das Fischlein zappelt dran, Und ich mit regem Blute Sah die Betrog’ne an.
The translation into English :
In a clear little brook, There darted, about in happy haste, The moody trout Dashing everywhere like an arrow. I stood on the bank And watched, in sweet peace, The fish’s bath In the clear little brook. A fisherman with his gear Came to stand on the bank And watched with cold blood As the little fish weaved here and there. But as long as the water remains clear, I thought, no worry, He’ll never catch the trout With his hook. But finally, for the thief, Time seemed to pass too slowly. He made the little brook murky, And before I thought it could be, So his line twitched. There thrashed the fish, And I, with raging blood, Gazed on the betrayed one. This translation was by Betsy Schwarm