Schubert’s Die Forelle and Piano Quintet in A Major (Trout)

Schubert based this piano quintet in A major on the Lied Die Forelle. Basically, the meanings of this two different pieces are the same — Schubert attempts to display an image in which the trout plays and swims in a brook and it is finally captured by the fisher. In the lied, we can feel the change of the mood by the acceleration and the crescendo also supported by the accompaniment at the text “Doch endlich ward dem Diebe… …”. Actually, the former texts just showed the picture of swimming trout and the fisher who was trying to capture the trout for so long. Then, from the text “Doch endlich ward dem Diebe”, music become much more agitated opposite the feeling before. We can see that it expresses the sympathy to the trout and the spite to the fisher/thief from the texts.

There is the texts and translation here:

In einem Bächlein helle,                               In a bright little brook
Da schoß in froher Eil                                    there shot in merry haste

Die launische Forelle                                     a capricious trout:
Vorüber wie ein Pfeil.                                    past it shot like an arrow. 

Ich stand an dem Gestade                           I stood upon the shore
Und sah in süßer Ruh                                    and watched in sweet peace

Des muntern Fischleins Bade                    the cheery fish’s bath
Im klaren Bächlein zu.                                 in the clear little brook.  

Ein Fischer mit der Rute                             A fisher with his rod
Wohl an dem Ufer stand,                            stood at the water-side,
Und sah’s mit kaltem Blute,                       and watched with cold blood
Wie sich das Fischlein wand.                    as the fish swam about. 

So lang dem Wasser Helle,                         So long as the clearness of the water
So dacht ich, nicht gebricht,                     remained intact, I thought,
So fängt er die Forelle                                 he would not be able to capture the trout
Mit seiner Angel nicht.                              with his fishing rod.

(feeling changes from here)

Doch endlich ward dem Diebe               But finally the thief grew weary

Die Zeit zu lang. Er macht                        of waiting. He stirred up
Das Bächlein tückisch trübe,                  the brook and made it muddy,
Und eh ich es gedacht                              and before I realized it, 

So zuckte seine Rute,                                 his fishing rod was twitching: 
Das Fischlein zappelt dran,                     the fish was squirming there,
Und ich mit regem Blute                          and with raging blood I 

Sah die Betrogene an.                               gazed at the betrayed fish. 

In the Piano Quintet in A Major (Trout),  Schubert uses the theme from Die Forelle. Generally, the music is in a merry mood. Even if there might be a representation of the captured trout in the fourth movement which is a variations, it turns to the brightness again very soon. Also, the music is always vivid that each part imitates the sound of nature. As a result, we can clearly understand the images that the trout is swimming fast or leaping out of the brook.

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  1. Patricia’s avatar

    Nachrichten über Forelle lese ich wirklich gerne. Danke für den netten Artikel, Patricia.


  2. Krakow’s avatar

    That is certainly pretty good stuff. Many thanks for your interest to give such helpful information here.


  3. Blaine Jonnson’s avatar

    Nice one for using time to writing this, made a good browse