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ClassicsOnline Home » WEBER: Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn
"a very interesting release"
Carl Maria yon Weber (1786 - 1826)
Opera in Two Acts
Among infant prodigies already remarkable in the
first ten years of their lives for musicality and abilines as composer, Carl
Maria von Weber (1786 -1826) undoubtedly belongs by the side of Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. He had his musical grounding as
a child from his father Franz Anton and travelled throughout Germany with his
family as a member of the Weber Theatre Company. He had no education at school
and in consequence learned as a boy the privanons, difficulties and joys of life
in the theatre.
Weber's father hoped to find among his many children
a second Mozart. Franz Anton Weber, who had served earlier at Eutin as
town-musician, with responsibility for the provision of suitable music for all
festivals, undertook, as a violinist and double-bass player himself, together
with Carl's elder step-brother Fritz, the musical education of the boy, which
only proceeded with difficulty. In Hildburghausen, where the family settled in
1796, Carl Maria von Weber had his first serious musical instruction from a
young musician in the ducal chapel. Johann Peter Heuschkel was an accomplished
and reliable teacher who took care with his gifted ten-year-old pupil. In
October 1797 the family travelled to Salzburg, where they remained for a time,
in view of the political changes resulting from the Napoleonic wars.
Furthermore Carl's uncle Fridolin, whose daughter Constanze had married Mozart
in 1782, had lived there. In Salzburg there was a centuries old musical tradition.
Michael Haydn, younger brother of Joseph Haydn and a leading Salzburg court
musician, was impressed by the gifted boy and gave him lessons free of charge.
Carl also sang with the charisters in performances at religious works. After the
death of his mother in Salzburg in 1798, father and san resumed their restless
wandering through the German principalities. A longer stay in Munich allowed
lessons with Johann Nepomuk Kalcher, also a pupil of Michael Haydn. In Saxon
Freiberg they sought a new home, with the hope of a first performance there of
the romantic comic opera Das Waldmadchen (The Forest Maiden), which failed, in
spite of the loudly expressed advocacy of his father. The failure occasioned
extended diatribes from him in the press against the conductor and the critics.
The dream of aperatic success in Freiberg came to nothing and an exchange of
letters in the newspapers there brought the Webers into some disrepute. Father
and son, therefore, cut short their stay in Freiberg and an unsettled time
followed. In November 1801 they returned again to Salzburg, where Franz Anton
again entertained ombitious plans. His son should complete from memory a Mass
that he had started with Kalcher in Munich and of which the manuscript had been
burned, and dedicate it to the Prince-Archbishop von Colloredo. This was done,
but Colloredo in the meantime had fled from Salzburg, in view of the political
difficulties of the time. The Mass was considered lost, but in 1925 was
discovered in the Salzburg archives. At this time Weber also wrote the charming
Six petites pieces faciles for piano duet and his Douze Allemandes for piano.
Weber's principal composition at this period, carried
out under the supervision of his teacher Michael Haydn, was a stage-work, Peter
Schmoll and His Neighbours. Carl Mario was now fifteen years old and, after the
lack of attention aroused by his first attempts at opera, the lost Die Macht
der liebe und des Weins (The Power of love and Wine) and the opera Das
Waldmadchen, hoped now for o real success. The novel of the same name by Carl
Gottlob Cramer had appeared in two parts in 1798 and 1799 and had been
reprinted many times. Cramer was in his day a best-selling writer and his
serialised novel suited well the taste of the time. Two friends lose touch in
the disturbances of revolution, find each other again and all ends happily with
The Thuringian forestry offical Cramer strained
events in his sequel, caught up in the feelings and sentiments of Nature. The
idea of using the work as the basis for opera came from Franz Anton Weber. He
expected from the adaptation of this successful literary piece a rapid and wide
success for the Singspiel. Unfortunately the adapter Joseph Turk (or Turke), in
other respects not entirely unknown as a librettist, stuck pedantically to the
form of the original novel, rewriting the many coincidences of its plot in a
libretto as undistinguished as it is banal, with its clumsy rhymes. Of the text
only the parts set by Weber survive, demonstrating the wretched task that an
opera composer then had to undertake. There were no competent German
librettists at the time, the reason that the critical Beethoven was only
inspired to write one opera, Fidelio.
It is interesting for us that Weber's opera deals
with the theme of French emigres, who had left France in 1789 at the outbreak
of the Revolution and had settled in various parts of Germany. Many were
unhappy with their situation, once the fear of death by the guillotine had
faded. Others felt themselves unlucky since for family or financial reasons
they were now dependent on other people, for whose help they were grateful,
while depressed by its necessity.
The treatment of the plot in Cramer's novel is
interlocked and ill-suited to dramatisation. People who have fled from France
seek each other, many of them returning, changed by the dangers of revolution
that they meet and altered in both name and appearance. This goes on until they
meet again. Turk based his treatment on the events of one day and dealt with
the reunion of a separated family. The form of the opera is that of the German
Singspiel, with spoken dialogue. The original text of the dialogue was lost
after the first performance.
In a letter of recommendation written in Salzburg on
2nd June 1802 Michael Haydn sought to support his pupil and a possible
performance of the work:
With true pleasure I attended yesterday an informal
rehearsal of the opera Peter Schmoll and His Neighbours, composed by my beloved
pupil Herr Carl Maria von Weber, and cannot do otherwise than bear appropriate
witness with honesty and my own judgement and absolute assurance that this
opera is written bravely and perfectly according to the true principles of
counterpoint, with much fire and delicacy, and that the text is set entirely
suitably and that the composer himself is at the same time one of the most
distinguished keyboard-players of the present time, and therefore find it
equitable and just to recommend this dear pupil of mine to the best attention
of the whole musical world.
In this early work Weber shows his lightness of touch
and facility, bringing to life the cardboard figures of the plot with cheerful
and graceful melodies. In particular the basso buffo part of Hans Bast is well
done, comic, reflective and contributing to the general reconciliation. The
five principal roles Bast, Schmoll, Minette, Karl and Martin, are plausibly
characterized in their arias and ensembles in the best Singspiel tradition.
Those hearing this little opera should compare it
with other early compositions by Weber. All of them are preparatory studies for
his later goal, the creation of German romantic opera. The later style is
suddenly evident in this or that rhythmic idea, this or that clearly formulated
melody. Musicologists have found Weber's score for this opera inexperienced and
harmonically clumsy. In spite of all understandable evidence of immaturity,
bearing in mind Weber's hitherto inadequate education, this composition
confirms his potential talent as a composer for the stage. In Peter Schmoll we
find by the side of melodies of folk- song type a treatment of orchestral
colour that later appears in masterly fashion in Der Freischutz. The main and
fundamental features of Weber's musical language can be heard, the dramatic and
vivid use of instruments, the simple yet attractive management of singing
parts. Weber later made a concert arrangement of the overture, which, unlike
the complete work, has remained in orchestral repertoire until our own time.
In spite of all criticism the original score shows
great dramatic gifts and for a fifteen-year-old composer it is a quite
extraordinary work. It is solid in construction and the characteristic use of
certain keys, so highly developed in Der Freischutz, is here expressively
evident. The fundamental tonality of the opera is E flat major, the key of the
Overture, the Introduction (Terzetto No.1) , the false aria of Hans Bast (No.
12) , both Finales and the great love duet (No.9) .Three other numbers are in B
flat major. The only sharp keys are D major for the Blindman's Buff Terzetto
(No.2) and the Quartet (No.17) and A major for the Terzetto (No.6).
The talent of the born opera-composer appears
throughout, breathing life into Cramer's characters, into Peter Schmoll
himself. There is only one female role in the whole opera, Minette, a lyrical
soubrette, and, as the music soon shows, pointing more to Annchen than to
Agatha. Weber knows rather less how to deal with Karl, a lyrical tenor. He is
not the only composer, particularly in Germany, who finds difficulty in the
expression of upright, heroic and noble feelings without a touch of cliché. The
musical treatment, however, is felicitous and points to a real ability for
dramatic effect and variety.
It would be unreasonable to expect deep psychological
meaning from a composer still in his boyhood and Turk's contribution is also
inadequate. Nevertheless Peter Schmoll shows a sure musical instinct stemming
from German folk-music and fitting perfectly Peter Schmoll and his friends.
On the other hand many other things remind us of the
debt of romantic opera to the French opera comique. The picture of the
comfortable bourgeois family, whose lives are turned upside down by the dispositions
of fate, the political ferment in the background, the vicissitudes of events
-these are only some of the common factors that are also found in Peter Schmoll
and that are still further developed in romantic opera, basic features that are
distinctly found at a higher level in Der Freischutz. Naturally this work is
formally in the tradition of the German Singspiel, but also, if indications of
the tradition of a Dittersdorf, Muller or Schenk appear, Peter Schmoll
demonstrates a young rising talent that will deliberately free itself from this
tradition. Not only because of the rich signs of an individual musical
personality .only a few composers show such a preference for the unmixed harsh
sound of wind instruments - but also in melody there appears a certain
impatience with traditional farms and clichés, as in the taste far mare
elegant, deeper, mare brilliant music, such as Weber later wrote. A number of
touches suggest that the composer will not long be satisfied with established
dramatic situations. Peter Schmoll stands at the beginning of a road that leads
to Oberon and Der Freischutz.
The first performance of the completed opera was
intended to take place in 1802 in Augsburg, where Carl's step-brother Edmund
was director of music. When the day of the performance was delayed, father and
son set out on a concert tour of North Germany. In the spring of 1803 Carl
Maria von Weber returned to Augsburg and the first performance took place in March,
without any particular success, as Weber remarked in his autobiography.
The opera Peter Schmoll subsequently found no place
on the German stage, after the performance in Augsburg, and in the twentieth
century there have been various reconstructions and revivals, the first in
Lubeck in 1927 and later in Freiberg. Far the guest performance in Freiberg by
the Dresden State Opera in 1943 Hans Hasse wrote new dialogue and diverged in
his complete new text from the original song texts of Turk. This version, in
February 1944, was one of the last premieres of the Semper Opera before the end
of the war. The opera was mounted at the Bielefeld State Theatre in May 1955
together with Abu Hassan. A concert performance at the Dresden State Opera in
1980 followed. In 1963 there appeared a new edition of Peter Schmoll, published
by Peters, with new dialogue by Willy Werner Gottig based on the speech style
of the year 1800, without touching the original song texts. This version has
been used for the present recording, with abridgement of the spoken dialogue.
Jurgen Gauert (English translation by Keith Anderson)
A rich sixty-year-old banker called Peter Schmoll lives
with his nineteen-year-old niece Minette and his old factotum Hans Bast in a
country-house, near a village. Peter Schmoll has fallen in love with Minette
and eventually proposes marriage, but she is in love with the young Karl
Pirkner. The French Revolution and the troubles of war have torn the family apart.
One day there appear with the peasant Niklas,
purveyor of vegetables to the house, two men, one young and the other old,
purporting to be father and son. Actually they ore Martin Schmoll and Karl
Pirkner, who after years of searching have found where Peter Schmoll and
Minette have settled. From here on there are various misunderstandings, until
the final reconciliation, when nothing stands any more in the way of the
marriage of Karl and Minette.
CD 1 - Act I
After the Overture (1) the curtain rises. The scene
is a park in front of an aid country-house. The year is about 1800. Peter Schmoll
and Hans Bast complain, while Minette is happier with her situation (2) .Schmoll
finds it unbelievable that people should steal and rob as they do and that
right should always be an the side of the mob, sentiments with which Hans Bast
agrees, but Minette sees no reason to complain in such a beautiful place, far only
love brings happiness. The thief has flown, with the ready money, Schmoll
rages, as Bast tries to calm him and Minette thinks all will be well. Schmoll continues
his tirade: if he caught the thief, he would give him a hiding. Bast tells him
it is no use complaining, and in any case he has saved quite enough, a suggestion
that angers Schmoll still further. Minette, meanwhile, is left to herself, as long
as the other two are arguing. Schmoll declares himself master in his awn house,
and Bast had better keep quiet. As the latter suggests, he can still think what
he likes. (3) In the fallowing conversation Bast asks Schmoll why he is so
angry and Minette adds that it is no use dwelling on the past. Bast begs him to
calm himself, but Schmoll refuses to be calm. Minette annoys Bast by remarking
that it is stupid far two aid men to go on quarrelling about nothing. Bast objects
to the ward aid, but Schmoll acknowledges that they are not young any mare, but
he has saved a tidy little sum from his interests as a banker in France,
enabling him to buy the house. Minette agrees that it is a beautiful house, but
so remote that her father, wham she has last in the Revolution, will never find
them there. What use is a father, Schmoll asks, since she has him. Minette
still longs to see her father, Bast supports her, and Schmoll finally tells
them bath to be quiet.
(4) In the following aria Peter Schmoll declares
himself master of his own house: what he says, goes, and he will brook no
opposition, except from Minette, whom he loves, although no-one knows: he is an
old fool, and love robs him of sleep, falling for his own niece, and driving
him mod. A man, though, is never too old to marry, but what should he do? Tell
her? Ask her? She is bound to say no in the end, and make fun of him. He must
see what happens, though nothing burns as fiercely as hidden love, known to
none. (5) Minette, in the conversation that follows, tells Schmoll that she
wants to go and buy vegetables from the peasant Niklas. He thinks it unsuitable
for her to go alone without him, but she pleads for his permission, only this
once. Never, says Schmoll. Why does she want to wander round far and wide, when
he is there, the best company for her? Naturally, she assures him, he is the
best uncle she could have. He is about to speak openly to her, but she
interrupts, telling him that she knows how fond of her he has been since she
was a child. But now, Schmoll says, she is grown up, a beautiful girl, and he
loves her not as an uncle but as a man, if she would be his wife. Minette
exclaims at this, and he asks her to think the matter over. The proposal has
been so sudden and she must think. He tells her to reflect, until he comes
back, but alone she wonders how to tell him that her heart belongs to another.
In her Romanze (6) Minette declares that the heart of
a girl that really loves has only one true love, on whom her happiness depends.
Always she remembers that first kiss, when she gave her heart to him in love:
she will be true to him till death. Never will she forget that first happiness.
(7) She is in tears, as Bast interrupts her, suspecting love as the cause. He
is right, but he knows only the half of it, he loves her, but she does not love
him. Bast tells her that it is not for her to cry but for the man. But, she
replies, the one who loves her is the master of the house, a situation that
Bast finds comical. For Minette, however, it is tragic, since she loves
another, Karl. Bast recalls that at the outbreak of war Karl was a soldier and
that no-one has heard of him since, but Minette, since that first kiss, is
pledged to him and expects his return. Bast tells her not to despair, since
miracles can happen.
A duet follows between Minette and Bast (8) .Minette
welcomes Bast's true friendship and urges him always to be honest with her.
Bast tells her to think matters over. They must find some clever trick to help
her. Minette has been in love, since that first kiss, but Bast will help her.
She sings of her love, how she could see her own image reflected in the bright
light of his eyes: never will she forget him! Never can she forget him! Her
heart beats for him, through good and ill, and she will do everything for their
happiness together, by trickery. Bast wonders what to do, since he is not so
clever, and how tactfully to bring the old man round. Should he tell the truth?
Must he tell the truth? The best way is to find some trick, to help the young
lovers. (9) Whether she likes it or not, Bast tells her, she must pretend to
love Schmoll, humouring him at least until Karl comes back. What happens if he
wants to kiss her, she asks. Then, Bast advises, say "Not until after the
wedding, uncle dear", bidding her go now to practise her part as a sulky
bride. Niklas comes in, and wishes Bast good morning. Bast asks him how
business is going, and Niklas, in true peasant style, complains that the rain
has drenched everything, and then the sun has killed everything off.
Niklas sings an ariette of complaint (10): I am a
poor dog! Life is bitter for me! I am a small-holder! And yet I have my health!
My hens lay eggs, without me bothering! There are the peas and beans, and the
price of salad makes me desperate. Work makes man, and in the old peasant style
I take the highest prices. I am quite fit, and not such a poor dog! (11) He
breaks off to greet Minette and tell her he would rather bargain with her over
twopence than with Herr Schmoll.
Minette, Bast and Niklas now sing together (12) .Bast
tells Niklas to show them what he has in his basket, if it is tasty enough:
they have very delicate palates, and do not want cabbage and spinach. Niklas
brings only the best vegetables, freshly picked from his own land: if you buy
from Father Niklas, you will be laughing, he sells good wares for good money:
the cook will not regret it! Minette asks if the asparagus is tender: it would
go well with sauce hollandaise, a poem in itself. Niklas assures her that it is
tender, exquisite in flavour, like butter, a
very poem. It must go down like butter, Bast adds, otherwise it stays on the
plate, but once in the mouth it is o poem, an expensive, fine poem. Niklas has
the second verse of the poem in his basket, a side of ham, that tastes so good,
and fresh-laid eggs. They then sing all together of Father Niklas and his good
cheap wares. (13) Niklas tells them they have bought enough for a fine midday
meal, and Schmoll, joining them, tells Bast to take the stuff to the kitchen:
he has been thinking about Minette, and wants to make life as pleasant as
possible for her. She tells him that she knows that he wants the best for her,
to which he suggests immediate marriage. She asks for more time, since one day
she might be able to love him.
As Schmoll and Minette go in, the voice of Karl is heard
(14). He sings to his beloved Minette, seeking the protection of love in his
predicament: he has sought her everywhere, to join her in happiness. Now he
wonders if he is coming to the end of his search, as love leads him on, and recalls
the kiss that united them for ever. He begs the god of love to guide him to his
beloved, and hopes that she may now be near, so that he may embrace her once
more. (15) He has lost count of the years he was in the war, but Bast tells him
to be gone: they want no beggars there. Karl tells him he is wrong: he has
work. So he can see, says Bast, with his tattered coat and beard: who does he
work for? Father Niklas, says Karl, and Niklas joins in, agreeing. Bast asks
his name, and is amazed to hear that this is Karl Pirkner, back from the war.
Karl announces himself as Minette's betrothed, and the old man with him, he
tells Niklas, is her father. Bast exclaims that Minette will be delighted, but
Karl says that Schmoll must not know that they are here.
Left alone, Bast racks his brains in his ariette
(16). Now he must use diplomatic tricks and turns, be very careful, and help
the two of them. He must be diplomatic and silent as the grave, that is clear,
diplomatic in word and deed, and, remembering his promise, be clever and use
his head. (17) Niklas hurries back, having forgotten his basket in his
excitement. Bast says that the return of Karl will shake things up in the
house. Fraulein Minette will be out of herself for joy, Niklas adds. And Peter
Schmoll for woe, Bast rejoins, telling him that the old fool is in love with
his niece and has proposed to her. Minette joins them, sad at her situation, and
Bast repeats his complaint about Schmoll, master of the house, so that only
what he wants can happen. Now things will not be so bad, Niklas suggests, and
Minette asks him what he means. Now your father has come back, Niklas tells
her, and Karl too, Bast adds. Minette cannot believe it, but Bast assures her
that he was there not half an hour before, a surprise for her. She tells him
that Schmoll must know nothing of it: Bast must promise her that the secret
will be kept.
Minette, Niklas and Bast sing a final trio (18),
Minette demanding secrecy and threatening to cut Bast's ears off, if he reveals
anything: he must be silent and dumb, something that he should not find hard.
Bast and Niklas swear secrecy, Minette repeats her demand, and Bast lyrically
praises sweet longing, gentle hope, the sight of Heaven opening. Minette asks
for help in her plans, which the other two promise, a sworn band of three.
CD 2 - Act II
The second act opens with an aria from Minette (1)
.She sings of her happiness, as her loving heart beats with joy, rejoicing, her
sorrows now forgotten. She waits now for her beloved friend, with whom she will
soon be united, held fast in his arms. How long must she wait? Love and loyalty
give courage, and she longs for her lover's kisses, all at last well, after the
sad period of waiting. The sun shines again from the blue sky and happy songs
can be heard in the flower-decked fields. Her heart is happy, moved by love,
and joyful alone is the heart that loves. Love brings happiness and anxiety,
sorrow and pain are forgotten. (2) She is joined by Schmoll, who is glad to see
a young girl dancing for joy. She has every reason to be happy, Minette tells
him. Then she should not dance alone, Schmoll answers, but she tells him that
dancing might not come so easily to him and they should instead playa game.
Schmoll hopefully suggests o game of forfeits, but Minette prefers Blind Man's
Buff, with Bast.
Minette, Schmoll and Bast now join together in a trio
(3) .Bast, in an aside, tells the old fool to play Blind Man's Buff and wait in
vain for the Blind Man's kiss. Schmoll tells Minette to blindfold him, while
Bast sees the comic outcome of this childishness. Minette blindfolds Schmoll
and tells him that he must first catch her before he gets a kiss. Bast remarks
on Minette's agility and Schmoll's lack of it. Catch me, then, calls Minette,
while Schmoll's aim is to kiss the girl. Bast teases Schmoll, and Minette is confident
that she can avoid her uncle, and again Bast is caught, only to tell Schmoll
that it is only Bast and not Minette. Bast takes his turn as Blind Man, teased
by Minette, telling him to go straight ahead, but to mind the wall. Bast
catches Schmoll and demands a kiss, thinking he has caught Minette, and Minette
says they should both be blindfold. Bast would be happy to give up, but Schmoll
wants to go on, and all goes according to Minette's plan, as Schmoll still
seeks the reword of a kiss, which he will never have. (4) Schmoll declares that
he loves Minette and she is teasing him, proof of her affection. Bast attempts
to remonstrate, since Minette is only nineteen, but Schmoll points out that he
is a man and well to do. Bast wonders if Minette is willing and tells Schmoll
that she has said nothing directly, but he can tell from her shining eyes.
Schmoll thinks all is going well and resolves to fix the wedding-day. Bast
adds, aside, that Schmoll will have a surprise.
In an ariette (5) Bast sings of the capacity of men
for deception; fair ladies and fine gentlemen must be deceived. The bigger the
lie, the better, and the one who lies has more from life, yet truth will out.
Deception must be polite, but not too feeble, not too coarse, not too fine.
This is how love will triumph. Good friends, lie and humbug, it is an art. What
he has to say is all too true. If everyone told the truth, everything would
always be in the open, but this seldom happens. He often wanders what it is all
about. Is deception just a joke?
You can be caught and compromised, and someone tells
him that a minister lies. But that is not true, and yet it is clear as day.
Lying, then, good friends, is an art. (6) Schmoll has other ideas, musing that
if he has never been a breaker of hearts, yet this time he will conquer a
girl's heart: it is a glorious thing, to be loved.
Schmoll continues in an aria (7) .To be loved is a
glorious feeling, nothing like it on earth. It gives an old man new energy and
makes us young again. Love is an elixir that can rejuvenate and has succeeded
with him. Love also makes us dumb, dwelling always in Elysium. He does not know
what he will do, now he is no longer the old Peter Schmoll. He would like to
leap like a horse. Love burns in his heart, the sweet pangs of fate. He has won
the prize and now at last is loved. (8) He sees Minette coming, and now he must
seize his chance, and asks her if she still wants to take a walk. That would be
fine, she answers. Schmoll tells her they will go with the new man from Niklas's
in a carriage through the woods. Would that earn him a kiss? Certainly, says
Minette. At once? he asks: a little advance is a good thing, and he bids her
wait for him. Minette thinks what would happen if her uncle only knew who Karl
was. At this point Karl comes in and the lovers meet again.
Minette and Karl sing a duet (9). She rests in his
arms, while he glories in his unending happiness, now Fate has shown them its
merciful favour. No power can part them, Minette sings, now they are united in
loyalty: Karl has come back to her for ever. Their fate has changed to the
purest happiness, he adds, as the two express their love for one another. This
is comfort to their troubled hearts, true and no dream, and they are united for
ever. Karl adds his own thoughts. With her only can he be happy; he is for ever
hers and swears to be true to her. He gives her his whole being, and she
responds by pledging her own faith to him. (10) Minette tells Karl that she
knew he would come back one day to rescue her from her loneliness and explains
how when they had lost her father in their terrified flight from France, her
uncle Peter had taken her to his house, where he has carried on his business as
a banker. Money- making was always important to him, Karl remarks, he had no
mind far anything else. That has changed, Minette tells him, for Schmoll is in
love. Old Schmoll? , exclaims Karl. Yes, Minette tells him, and today he has
declared his love for her and proposed marriage. Karl is not worried, since he
will not give her up, and in any case she now needs her father's permission,
which he will seek at once, suiting the action to the word. That is just like
men, Minette observes. They swear not to leave you and a few minutes later they
are gone. Niklas now ushers in Martin Schmoll, who asks to be left alone with
In his aria (11) Martin Schmoll sings of his finding
again in that place his brother and his child. After many years alone, he is
now overjoyed and willingly resigns himself, now sorrow is no more. He had the
courage of his hopes in the bitterest times and now all has turned out well.
Men should never grumble, since they are in the hands of God. Rare are the ways
of Fate, and man knows them not. The lord's path is a winding one, lit by the
light of grace. Oh my brother! Oh my daughter! What happiness to find you. I
embrace you once again in my arms, and joy returns, he continues. (12) Martin
Schmoll then takes his daughter in his arms, and she is happy to find again her
father and her future husband. Karl, he tells her, is a good fellow and he has
nothing against the marriage, a declaration that Karl, who has rejoined them,
is happy to hear.
In a trio (13) Minette, Karl and Martin Schmoll
celebrate their reunion. Martin Schmoll gives the pair his blessing, which
Minette welcomes, tied to her lover by the bonds of love, as Karl too declares.
Love, Martin Schmoll asserts, is the highest happiness on earth and ties the
bond of marriage. One day he will be a grandfather and that will be the
greatest happiness. Karl is Papa, Minette is Mama, and the little grandchild is
so tiny, and then the sun will shine a hundred times brighter than today: that
is how the world goes, from children come grown up people. Karl echoes the
thought, and sings of the rings that he and Minette have now exchanged as
pledges of their love. The old man tells them they must always be true in love,
if they want to be happy, united in the hard times of life by love and faith:
their struggles once over, the sun soon shines again. Fortune cannot be
trusted, they alone can work their own happiness: honour must be kept and
virtue. (14) Minette then tells her father that it would be better if Peter
Schmoll did not yet know of their return. It might be too much for him, Karl
adds, to see his brother and the bridegroom of his bride. Martin Schmoll
questions this last, and Minette draws him aside, saying she will explain
everything to him.
Alone for the moment, Karl sings a recitative and
aria (15). He has now reached his goal and the burning longing of his heart is
stilled. Now he will have rest and a dear girl will be his wife. His little
bride is fair, as fair as the sun and from her eyes shine the delights of love.
He is hers, and she his, her gentle heart belongs to him. He goes on to sing of
his love for Minette, with love that is the happiness of life. For her alone
his loving heart beats and love is the highest good: who loves not, lives not.
It is love that gives courage to the heart and raises us to the stars. What
feeling stirs the breast, for the love of a true woman is the highest pleasure!
Love has a wonderful magic power that makes us forget the troubles of the world
and protects us in a dream, a beautiful dream. With love every day is Sunday
and the heart beats full of joy. Love has brought him mat day the most
beautiful, most wonderful day of all. In short, he is in love. (16) Rejoining
him, Minette tells him that her father has gone to rest. If she is as caring a
w[e, as she is a daughter, Karl assures her, then he has won the greatest
prize. He has that in any case, she modestly replies.
Karl and Minette now sing a duet (17), hymning the
sweet delights of love, for now they will be happy. When storms are abroad, he
will hold her hand, and she has no fear of sorrow, while they are together.
(18) Their happiness is interrupted by Peter Schmoll, who wants to know what is
going on. A kiss of betrothal, Karl tells him. Impossible, Schmoll cries, with
my future bride. Wrong, Karl replies, Minette is his. You are wrong, Schmoll
declares, she is his bride and he is master of the house. Now Bast joins them, asking
what the shouting is about, and Schmoll bids him get rid of Karl immediately:
out with him!
Now Minette, Schmoll, Karl and Bast join in o quartet
(19) in which they can each express their feelings. Schmoll is agitated: to the
Devil with him, he shouts, off with him, rascal, robber, murderer, thief! Karl attempts
to speak, but Schmoll interrupts, bidding him hold his peace, if he values his
life. Karl attempts again to speak, but Schmoll will have none of it: Karl is o
scoundrel, a gallows-bird with no manners, and if he does not make off, he will
have the dogs on him. You have no dog, Bast reminds him, with Minette's agreement,
and Schmoll's assent. Then he will call the police and Karl will be thrown into
prison, where no shouting will help him. Schmoll had just arrived in the nick
of time to save Minette from this white-slave-trafficker. Minette interjects
that this is all too much, but Karl does not know what to say, since Schmoll
continues to rage, threatening the lock-up and bread and water, the only way to
deal with crooks. Bast attempts to intervene, since jealousy has mode Schmoll
mad, and urges his master to listen. Minette addresses him: dear Uncle Schmoll -
He is no crook, no thief, no wicked thief, interrupts Bast, but an honourable man.
Look at him, cries Schmoll. Only a robber has a beard like that and such bad
manners. Karl explains that his beard is false, but the truth is that he is
betrothed to Minette and has come from o distance; he is no thief, but her
betrothed. (20) They are now joined by Martin Schmoll, who tells Peter Schmoll
that his voice is as loud as it used to be many years ago. The latter is amazed
and delighted to find his brother again, one he had never hoped to find once
more, and at once offers him a place in his bank, so that they can between make
enough money for themselves and for his wife. When did you marry? , asks Martin
Schmoll, to be told that his brother intends to marry Martin's daughter in the
coming days. Karl interposes his own claim to Minette, and Martin talks of the time
when he and his brother were separated and how Peter has been her reliable
protector. Minette adds that Peter Schmoll has been the best uncle a niece
could ever want, and Peter himself adds that he has protected Martin's
daughter, so that when they are married... Minette, however, interrupts with a
declaration of her love for Karl. Now at last Peter Schmoll agrees, since it is
the cleverer who gives way. She can take her Karl, and he will remain a
bachelor. But now, for the wedding, they must all go into the town and open the
bank there again. Schmoll and Schmoll, Minette announces. That will be a
business, Bast adds.
The six of them, Minette, Peter and Martin Schmoll,
Bast and Karl, now joined by Niklas, embark on the finale (21) .Karl and
Minette sing of their happiness and love, while Peter Schmoll is at first
disgruntled, but his brother is delighted to have found him and his daughter
again, while Bast calls it luck and Niklas congratulates the lovers and awaits
the wedding banquet, for which both Schmoll brothers are now eager. Peter
Schmoll addresses his niece. Things have turned out differently and it is no
pleasure for him to be a bachelor, but all the same he will put a brave face on
it and be happy for the two of them, and bestow on them his paternal blessing.
This he proceeds to give them, talking, as his brother remarks, like a
clergyman and forgetting that Martin Schmoll is Minette's father. Have I no
rights over our child? , Schmoll demands, but is pacified by his brother. Karl
and Minette pledge their love for each other, with the blessing of Schmoll and
Schmoll, Peter convinced of the wisdom of giving way. Niklas and Bast wish the
pair all happiness, and the whole par1y sing together in joy, praising love,
without which life is nothing: he only lives, who loves, and this is the aim of
all human endeavour, for love to bring happiness to the heart. The man who has
reached fifty without loving is a poor fellow, a very poor fellow. Fall in love
at twenty, when you are still young, then love will give you the energy you
need. Do not do as Herr Schmoll did. That, announce Niklas, Martin Schmoll and
Hans Bast, was the story of Peter Schmoll. They all join together to declare
that everyone should learn from it.
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WEBER: Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn