The pews had been replaced by candlelit tables holding plates of chocolates and other treats and ladies in little black dresses were coming round to pour out glasses of wine or Sekt or sparkling water for everyone. Once we had settled in and toasted one another (Barbara, Gisela, Vija, Rolf, Chris and me around our table) the vicar came up front to introduce three musicians and a reader who presented us with a programme of romantic music, poetry and prose, the prose part being an exchange of letters between Robert Schumann and his fiancée Clara Wieck, in which she promised to be a good Hausfrau. The gentleman who did the readings in both German and English spoke slowly and expressively. We heard some Schumann sung by the soprano who later performed Ravel's Five Greek Folk Songs, as well, and the violinist (the vicar's wife) played a soulful Telemann Siciliano and Dvorak's Sonatine, Opus 100.
These ladies were very lucky to have Frédéric Lacroix as their accompanist. We've watched and heard him play before, as I mentioned in my last but one blogpost, a first class musician.
As well as the lyrics of the Schumann songs, Herr Moskau read us poems by Goethe and Rilke. I recognised this one (Rilke) from my student days, when I dare say I marked it with a pencil for having touched me:
Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möcht' ich sie bei irgendwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Spieler hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.