|Der Tannhäuser, Codex Manesse |
Univ. Heidelberg: Cod. pal. Germ. 848
Shamefully flighty, I wandered from the paths of focused scholarship into a rereading of the Tannhäuser libretto, where I was charmed to find a connection of the narrative with nature very reminiscent of much medieval secular poetry, as well as (of course) different types of "courtly love." (Recommendations of favorite Tannhäuser recordings are eagerly solicited, as I am acquiring an itch for deeper acquaintance with the work.) Scholarly ink has been spilled on the relationship of Wagner's drama to the historical originals of his characters, and their music. The historical Walther von der Vogelweide, I suspect, would hardly have been disconcerted by Tannhäuser's passionate declaration. Here, for instance, is one of his most famous songs, praising the pleasures of a lovers' tryst under a linden tree. Wolfram von Eschenbach's lieder are charming (at least to me!), as well as somewhat more earth-bound than "O Du mein holder Abendstern." The latter, however, is hardly less firmly associated with Wolfram for me. I love Thomas Quasthoff's interpretation, but this version by Bryn Terfel, shared on Opera Cake, is a current favorite, a perfect antidote to stress or distress.