October 17, 2009
Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Schubert script

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PIANO INTRO
GK: (SINGS)

In einem Bächlein helle da schoß in froher Eil,
Die launische Forelle vorüber wie ein Pfeil.

So lang dem Wasser Helle,so dacht ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle mit seiner Angel nicht.

(PIANO CONTINUES, AS IF STILL ACCOMPANYING. THEN, AFTER PLAYING THE ENTIRE VERSE, SLOWS AND STOPS)

TR: What’d you quit singing for?

GK: Took you awhile to notice, didn’t it.

TR: Something wrong?

GK: You don’t even know I’m standing here, do you.

TR: I’m looking right at you.

GK: Yes, it’s like singing along with a machine. It’s Schubert, for goodness sake. I’m up here trying to maintain artistic standards and you’re sitting back there grinding sausage.

TR: Twenty-five years together, all we do is fight, fight, fight. Why don’t we just call it quits?

GK: Why don’t we just try to make music?

TR: (BIG SIGH) (PAUSE) Now?

GK: Yes. Now.

TR: (SIGH)
PIANO INTRO

GK: (SINGS)

In einem Bächlein helle da schoß in froher Eil,
Die launische Forelle vorüber wie ein Pfeil.

So lang dem Wasser Helle,so dacht ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle mit seiner Angel nicht.

(SINGER STOPS, PIANO CONTINUES ACCOMP FOR SIXTEEN BARS, THEN STOPS)

TR; Whadja stop for? Something wrong?

GK: There’s no feeling in the piano. No delicacy. It’s like a man digging a trench.

TR: You want me to dig a trench, I’ll dig you a nice deep trench.
GK: It’s the little dinglydododo. You’ve been playing it too loud for years now and it gets in the way of the melody.

TR: You mean this? (HE PLAYS THE FIGURE)

GK: Right. You play it too loud—

TR: You mean this— (PLAYS THE FIGURE)

GK: Exactly.

TR: It’s what Schubert wrote. You’re singing Schubert. If you sing Schubert, you’ve got to sing Schubert. You can’t leave out parts of it. It’s what Schubert wrote. If you leave it out, you’re not doing Schubert. You’re doing Jimmy Wilfahrt.

GK: I’m not talking about leaving it out, I’m talking about playing with delicacy.

TR: Jimmy Wilfahrt is lecturing me on the subject of delicacy. (HE MUTTERS IN GERMAN)

GK: You stick that little diddlydinglydo out there like that’s what people are paying $50 a head to hear. Well, they’re not. There’s a melody going on. You know that?

TR: And I wish you’d sing it now and then.

GK: What is that supposed to mean?
TR: It means you’ve been singing this song for twenty-five years and you have yet to get it right.

GK: I’m going to just ignore that remark because it is so bizarre and so cruel and so untrue—

TR: Whatever you say, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: Pardon me?

TR: As you wish, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: My name is Wolfe. James Wolfe.

TR: When I met you, you were Jimmy Wilfahrt. A very appropriate name, I may say.

GK: My name now is James Wolfe.

TR: Whatever you say, Mr. Wilfahrt. You don’t even understand what you’re singing. You sing it like it’s a love song. It’s a song about fishing, for crying out loud.

GK: It’s a song about beauty, is what it’s about.

TR (SPOKEN):

In einem Bächlein helle da schoß in froher Eil,
Die launische Forelle vorüber wie ein Pfeil.
In a bright stream flashed in joyful haste the playful trout like an arrow.

GK: The playful trout?

TR: The playful trout. Die launische Forelle. And that’s what this is— (PLAYS THE FIGURE) the playful trout.

GK: Die launische Forelle is not the playful trout, it is the wayward trout. The trout who is lost—

TR: Launische. Playful, capricious. Look it up.

GK: You don’t need to lecture me on German, Mr. Barfnecht.

TR: Just trying to help you understand what you’re singing, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: I understand what I’m singing very well, Mr. Barfnecht. (TR MUTTERS IN GERMAN, BEHIND) It’s a song about the beauty of nature in the trout in the stream which is being admired by the very one who is out to kill it. But the way you play piano, people might think it’s about a man changing his spark plugs.
TR: Why don’t you try singing it without the piano if you hate the piano so much—

GK: And you know, while we’re on the subject, you’ve developed a bad habit over the past ten years of humming to yourself as you play—

TR: I do not, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: You sit there and hum. Not always in tune.

TR: Maybe I’m trying to fill in what’s missing in the vocal part, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: I’m not going to dignify that with a response.

TR: The truth hurts.

GK: No comment, Mr. Barfnecht. Play.

TR: If the shoe fits, put it on.

GK: Play, Mr. Barfnecht.

(PAUSE. VERY AGGRESSIVE INTRO)

GK (SINGS):

In einem Bächlein helle da schoß in froher Eil,
Die launische Forelle vorüber wie ein Pfeil.

So lang dem Wasser Helle,so dacht ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle mit seiner Angel nicht.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

GK: What is it, Doris? I’m rehearsing. Does a Keep Out sign mean nothing to you?

SS: I came to see what you want for lunch. You want me to fry you up some knockwurst and potatoes?

TR: Sure.

SS: How about you, Jimmy?

GK: We don’t have any salad makings?

SS: Got potato salad. Well, I’m gonna go make your lunch. Oh by the way, that Miss Schlossberger is here. She’s waiting in the kitchen.

GK: Oh. Well, she’s early.

SS: It’s three o’clock. She said you said for her to come at three o’clock. She brought her music. She said you were going to rehearse.

TR: Miss Schlossberger? This wouldn’t happen to be Miss Melissa Schlossberger, my piano student?

GK: It would.

TR: What are you doing with Miss Melissa Schlossberger, if I may ask.

GK: I don’t see that it’s any concern of yours, Mr. Barfnecht.

TR: It’s a simple question, Mr. Wilfahrt.

GK: She came to see me about an artistic matter, Mr. Barfnecht, and I don’t think it concerns you at all.

SS: She said that you and she are doing some concerts this fall.

TR: I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW IT! (HE HITS CHORD ON PIANO) YOU TRAITOR. YOU TWO-TIMER. YOU CHEATER. Sneaking around behind my back and finding another accompanist so you can throw me over the side after all these years I’ve been putting up with your lousy singing and your wretched inflection and your bad breath and your farting on stage and your cruelty and your vast ignorance of Schubert and your— your— (HE CHOKES)

(CRASH OF PIANIST FALLING DEAD ON KEYBOARD)

SS: Art? Art, are you all right? (A FAINT CHORD ON PIANO Art? (FOOTSTEPS) He’s dead, Jimmy. Art is dead. He went just like that. One minute he was here and now he’s gone.

(BRIDGE, FUNEREAL)

(SS QUIETLY WEEPING)

GK: As we gather here to celebrate the life and the work of Artie Barfnecht, our good friend and colleague, my accompanist for twenty-five years, a faithful artistic companion for more than a thousand programs of Schubert lieder, so that over the years, for all the awards given to me, when I was named Male Classical Vocalist of the year five years in a row and when I received the Forelle Prize and the Prix du Honneur and the Meistersinger Trophy, and for all the acclaim that I received, the applause of critics, the lavish praise, I always wished that they had mentioned my friend Artie Barfnecht because in my heart I knew that Artie was responsible for so much of my success and for making me the artist that I am today, and in his honor I’d like to sing his favorite song.....(SINGS ACAPELLA) Ein Fischer mit der Rute wohl an dem Ufer stand,
Und sah's mit kaltem Blute,wie sich das Fischlein wand. So lang dem Wasser Helle,so dacht ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle mit seiner Angel nicht. (FADES INTO PIANO BRIDGE)

(BRIDGE)

GK: So— Miss Schlossberger. I greet you at the start of a distinguished career as my colleague. We have a big tour ahead of us and I know it’s going to be stunning and amazing.

HM: It’s such an honor — I just can’t believe that I’m actually going to get to work with you, Mr. Wolfe. I’ve been listening to your Schubert recordings for years, my father played them over and over, and to think that now — well — to be your accompanist— I’m only sorry that it had to be this horrible tragedy and Mr. Barfnecht dying — at the keyboard of this very piano — I mean — these keys were the last thing he saw —

GK: His forehead bounced right off the keyboard where your hands are.

HM: I just don’t even know how to deal with that. He was my teacher—

GK: He was my friend. He was a beautiful man. But this is art, Miss Schlossberger — it’s like in the song, the man stands and admires the beauty of the trout that he is about to kill. And that trout is Artie Barfnecht.

HM: I don’t understand.

GK: Artie was a dear friend, Miss Schlossberger, but he got set in his ways in his later years and he didn’t take direction well. I kept him on out of loyalty but our artistic differences were profound. I feel that Schubert needs to be reinterpreted for each generation, and that’s why I’m having you play in that see-through dress and with the strings of lights on the piano and the slide projections and the fog machine. You’re okay with the fog machine?
HM: Sure, of course.

GK: It looks terrific.

HM: You look nice in that white suit with the big broad-brimmed hat.

GK: Thank you.

HM: And carrying the submachine gun.

GK: You like that?

HM: I do. It’s just totally way out — it’s awesome. Really.

GK: Okay. Good.

HM: Now, on “Die Forelle,” do you want me to play the (PIANO FIGURE)—

GK: No. Scratch that.

HM: So you don’t want that?

GK: The dinky do, no— that’s why I crossed that out.

HM: Okay. You set?

GK: Let’s do it.

(JAZZIER PIANO INTRO)

(PIANO)

GK (SINGS):

Ein Fischer mit der Rute wohl an dem Ufer stand,
Und sah's mit kaltem Blute,wie sich das Fischlein wand.

(HM ADDS SOPRANO OBLIGATO)

So lang dem Wasser Helle,so dacht ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle mit seiner Angel nicht.

Doch endlich ward dem Diebe die Zeit zu lang. Er macht
Das Bächlein tückisch trübe, und eh ich es gedacht,
So zuckte seine Rute, das Fischlein zappelt dran,
Und ich mit regem Blute sah die Betrogene an.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

GK: We’re in the midst of rehearsal, Doris.

SS: You care for some lunch? I gotta go to my mother’s.

GK: Nothing for me.

HM: I’m fine.

(GK & HM CONTINUE SCAT “FORELLE”)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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