Из "Фауста" Гёте, Op. 75, No. 3 ("Mephistos Flohlied")

Дитрих Фишер-Дискау, баритон
Jörg Demus, фортепиано

Эдуард Хиль, перевод В. Коломейцева

Es war einmal ein König (Жил был король когда-то), для голоса или мужского хора и фортепиано, №3 бетховенского цикла Op. 75. Также известная под более общим названием Aus Goethes Faust (из "Фауста" Гёте) или "Песня о блохе", это одна из трех песен цикла на стихи Гёте (помимо двух - на стихи Рейссига (Christian Ludwig Reissig) и одной - фон Халема (Gerhard Anton von Halem)), которые Бетховен завершил в 1809, и которые были опубликованы в следующем, 1810 году. Beethoven is thought to have begun work on the Goethe settings well before that; however, the song under consideration here perhaps dates to as early as 1792.

The text excerpted from Goethe's masterpiece for use in this setting is taken from a farcical ballad sung by Mephisto. It describes a king who takes an unusual and magnanimous liking to a lowly flea. "He loved it," Goethe says, "like a son." So absurdly deep is his affection that he prohibits everyone in the court from swatting at the nibbling pest—or even at his fellow fleas. The king has a tiny but glamorous suit tailored for his little friend, and even appoints him and his fellow fleas to positions of nobility.

Beethoven brilliantly sets this ludicrous scenario. A quick little neighbor note figure in the upper range of the piano, with occasional leaps downward, paints the flea in obvious pictorial strokes. Beethoven's sly humor, however, emerges in the king's parts, which he plays with a face so straight as to lapse into caricature. The king's regal lines, and the gravity with which he makes pronouncements (ordering flea-sized trousers, for example), lend a silly pomposity to the verses, which are separated by the flitting figurations of His Majesty's favored parasite. Modal shifts create further comical effect, as in the sudden emergence, in the passages describing the fleas' elevation to the court, of major tonic chords from the predominant minor mode. The faux-seriousness begins to unravel near the end of the piece, partly due to the phonetic acrobatics with which Goethe concludes his poem: while the courtiers had to suffer the itchy pests without protests, Mephisto observes, "Wir knicken und ersticken/Doch gleich, wenn einer sticht" (We smack and smash the ones that bite us); repeating this unwieldy text faster and faster, Beethoven's regal textures and nimble figures collapse into clumsy clusters of dissonant chords.

(All Music Guide)

Текст (автор текста: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), из пьесы Faust)

Es war einmal ein König

Es war einmal ein König,
Der hatt' einen großen Floh,
Den liebt' er gar nicht wenig,
Als wie seinen eig'nen Sohn.
Da rief er seinen Schneider,
Der Schneider kam heran;
"Da, miß dem Junker Kleider
Und miß ihm Hosen an!"

In Sammet und in Seide
War er nun angetan,
Hatte Bänder auf dem Kleide,
Hatt' auch ein Kreuz daran,
Und war sogleich Minister,
Und hatt einen großen Stern.
Da wurden seine Geschwister
Bei Hof auch große Herrn.

Und Herrn und Frau'n am Hofe,
Die waren sehr geplagt,
Die Königin und die Zofe
Gestochen und genagt,
Und durften sie nicht knicken,
Und weg sie jucken nicht.
Wir knicken und ersticken
Doch gleich, wenn einer sticht.

М. П. Мусоргский (1839-1881) , "Песня Мефистофеля в погребке Ауэрбаха", 1879. (русский перевод А. Н. Струговщикова)