Say what you want about trout fishing; how many other sports inspire classical music?
Harper’s Magazine recounts the story of the poem that inspired Franz Schubert‘s The Trout quintet, in its own inimitable style (“To the modern esthetic sense, it is 90 percent trite and 10 percent truite“).
Poet Christian Schubart comes across to me as a prototype anti…
At last the thief became impatient.
He maliciously made the stream opaque
And I thought, his rod quaked
The fish, the fish was writhing on it,
And I, filled with rage within, looked at the deceived
But, like a true Philistine, it turns out I’m missing the point. It’s an ode to liberty, apparently, with (this being art) a bit of sexual innuendo thrown in…
You who linger at the Golden Spring
Of a safe youth,
Contemplate the trout;
Recognize her danger, and hurry!
Generally she is missing only
Wisdom. Maidens, keep an eye on
That seducer with the rod! –
Lest you bleed too late
“Images that would fascinate Sigmund Freud,” suggests the hack from Harper’s, before going off for a cold shower and a little lie down.
Not that it really bothers me. Schubert and Schumann belong in the same foppish stable, as far as this proud owner of Music ‘O’-level is concerned. Handed the same brief, I reckon George Gershwin would have worked something in about fly selection.
But I do like that seducer with the rod concept.