Peter Altenberg was the pen name of Richard Engländer, the Viennese poet that Alban Berg set in his first essay in writing for orchestra, his Altenberg Lieder – Five songs on picture postcard texts. Altenberg – he’s been described as ‘the bohemians’ bohemian’ – was one of the strangest people in a fin-de-siècle Vienna full of strange people; his aphoristic verse style (normally consisting of four or so lines) arrived on picture postcards or scraps of paper and he seems to have spent most of his life haunting Viennese coffee houses.
Postcards, but in music as distinct from verse, have also been a focus for ‘impressionist’ composers, with Spain and its Moorish influenced music being a very popular destination.
Altenberg Lieder, Op. 4
1:05 I. Seele, wie bist du schöner
(Soul, how much more beautiful are you)
3:34 II. Sahst du nach dem Gewitterregen den Wald
(Did you see the forest after the rainstorm?)
4:34 III. Über die Grenzen des All
(Beyond the boundaries of the universe)
6:11 IV. Nichts ist gekommen
(Nothing has come)
7:34 V. Hier ist Friede
(Here is peace)
Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole
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