Classical 91.5

Hints of Spring – Music for Vorfrühling

Feb 22, 2018

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Late Winter Dawn, 1956-65; watercolor, gouache, and charcoal on joined paper mounted on board, 49 3/4 x 32 3/4 inches; The Spiro Collection, Courtesy of Debra Force Fine Art, New York

“When out walking, I have a habit of going along with my head down, deep in thought (imaginary conversations or worries, or problems) and suddenly “coming to”, and looking around at the landscape and sky, I realize what unspeakable beauty I am missing.

A fine morning – an undefined feeling of change is not exactly a “Vorfrühling” hint, but of something not quite winter.”

Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, February 1, 1939

Frühling...Printemps...Spring...It’s still a month away. And who knows – the change of a season on a calendar, or even by the count of a magnetic pole, does not prevent cold snaps or snow storms. Still, there are hints of spring creeping into the air, into our conversations, and even, it seems, into the music we’ve been playing on the radio. 

“Vorfrüling” is here. A few days ago I saw it on my way home from work—the intoxicating chill in the air after a day of warm sun & streets of running water; now as the sun is setting fronds of ice forming on the still shallow pools of water; the sunward sides of buildings have a brave warm look — any object or person no matter how crude, at such a season becomes chock full of romance. Day by day it has grown until today spring-fever & memories overtake me – to close the eyes is all that is necessary to see whole scenes from the past impressions of “Vorfrüling.”

Charles E. Burchfield, February 20, 1925  

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Winter Landscape with Stream, 1931; watercolor on paper, 23 x 34 inches; Private Collection

With inspiration from Burchfield’s writings and images, here are a few musical selections for Vorfrühling – early spring:

Rustle of Spring – Christian Sinding

Springtime in Funen - Carl Nielsen

The Hounds of Spring - Alfred Reed

“In Spring”  - Franz Schubert

Spring Song - Jean Sibelius

April, “The Snowdrop”  - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky