Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Behind the Lines with Anna Prohaska

Meet Anna Prohaska HERE

It was her Vienna Konzerthaus debut and I didn't know what to expect.

It turned out to be the most articulate and accomplished performance it has been my privilege to witness in the Mozart Saal of the Vienna Konzerthaus for several years. And I include many so-called big names in my list.

War is the subject of Anna Prohaska's Behind the Lines. She was accompanied on the Steinway by Eric Schneider. The audience, constantly surprised and delighted by this young lady's singing ability and her delightful interpretation of difficult themes, fell into raptures.

Prohaska's songs of war were many and various and included poems and ballads by William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Scott, Georg Trakl, Maurice Fombeure, Walt Whitman and many others as well as  traditional and anonymous words set to music by a veritable army of composers including the likes of Sergej Rachmaninoff, Hanns Eisler, Charles Ives, Wolfgang Rihm, Francis Poulenc, Roger Quilter, and Kurt Weill, to name but a few.

And here from the programme a trio of poems (including my own translation of Georg Trakl's Untergang) for the reader to appreciate:

My Luve's in Germanie 

(words by Hector McNeill 1746-1818)

My Luve's in Germanie, send him hame;
Fechting brave for royalty:
He may ne'er his Jeanie see - send him hame.

He's as brave as brave can be - send him hame;
He wad rather fa' than flee;
His life is dear to me - send him hame.

Your luve ne'er learnt to flee, bonnie dame;
But he fell in Germanie,
In the cause of loyalty, bonnie dame.

He'll ne'er come ower the sea - Willie's slain;
To his love and ain countrie:
This warld's nae mair for me - Willie's gane!

Wand'ring in this place (Anonymous)

Wand'ring in this place as in a wilderness,

No comfort have I nor yet assurance,
Desolate of joy, repleat with sadnesse:
Wherefore I may say, *O deus, deus, 
Non est dolor, sicut dolor meus. 

*O God, O God,

there is no pain like my pain.

Untergang (Georg Trakl 1887-1914)

Over the whitewashed pond
the wild birds flew away.
From the stars the evening sent an icy wind.  

Over our graves
the broken brow of the night was bent.
Beneath the oaks we rocked within a silver boat.

The white walls of the city rang again.
And under the thorns o my brother
the blind hand climbed towards midnight.

Then my Kaiser rode over my grave,
with many swords rattling and flashing;
 I climbed with my sword from the grave
for the Kaiser, the Kaiser to save!


  1. Apart from anything else she looks very young and very beautiful.

  2. She is 27 or 28. And she is as pretty as a peach.


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