Goethe wrote the poem in or early See media help. There came along a shepherdess with youthful step and happiness, who sang, who sang along the way this song. But, cruel fate! The maiden came, without a glance or care for him, she trampled down the violet. He sank and died, but happily: and so I die then let me die for her, for her, Mozart added the following line to the end of his setting: Das arme Veilchen!
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The text tells of how a young woman tramples on the affections of a sincere young suitor, only to realize her mistake and be united with him in the end. She sings this song in recognition of her mistake, the violet being a metaphorical stand-in for the crushed and crumpled young man who nonetheless remains true in his feeling for her. A violet was growing in the meadow, Unnoticed and with bowed head; It was a dear sweet violet. Along came a young shepherdess, Light of step and happy of heart, Along, along Through the meadow, and sang.
Ah only, ah only For a single quarter hour! But alas, alas, the girl drew near And took no heed of the violet, Trampled the poor violet. Although the poem is written in three stanzas, Mozart does not compose a strophic setting, but creates a through-composed work that pays close attention to the text. Poor little violet! It was the sweetest violet.
However, he adds various sigh motives and dramatic pauses, thereby turning this little song into a miniature operatic love scene. His setting foreshadows the direction lieder composition would take under the influence of a new generation of poets. She composes a light-hearted folk melody for the text, and a jolly interlude indicates the bouncy walk of the shepherdess.
These foreground similarities, however, should not distract from the fact that Clara identified with the suffering violet. The erotic fantasies in verse 2 are set in the minor key, and the trampling of the violet is rhythmically reinforced. In his setting, Nicolai Medtner also identifies with the lovesick violet. On one hand, his portrayal is comically extravagant, but the musical expressions are full of agony.
He sets the text in the unusual key of E-flat minor, and concurrently in a waltzing triple meter. And just listen to what happens in the music when the shepherdess steps on the flower. Schoeck is rather matter-of-fact in his setting of this poem as the process of love and loss are transitory and will repeat over and over. For Schoeck, there is no room for hyper-Romantic sentimentality, as he chose to end his work in the manner of a comedy by setting the final verses as a trio.
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Das Veilchen, song for voice & piano, K. 476