I Dream'd I Lay Where the Flowers Were, First Version of WoO 153 nr. 5, Hess 194 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
This was the original conception of the song. The publisher, James Thomson, noted that the first ritornello (the introduction) was "too capricioso;" it contains several sudden changes of dynamics and a number of sforzandos. Thomson requested one that was "agreeable and cantabile, more resembling the air." Beethoven obliged with the setting which is now WoO 153 Nr. 5 (1812). Willy Hess in his Supplement to the Gesamtausgabe misidentifies the date as 1815.
This early version has an interesting introduction which goes between piano and forte repeatedly, and the string voices have numerous sforzandos throughout. The revised version is more consistently piano throughout. While both version include some pizzicato in the string voices, the first version uses pizzicato more extensively, again with scattered sforzandos. This first version is clearly more interesting, and seems to better reflect the words which oscillate between pastoral delight and terror of the storm. The lyrics, commissioned by Thomson with the famed poet Robert Burns, fit the melody in a very awkward manner in both versions.
I dream'd I lay where flow'rs I dream'd I lay where flow'rs wer springing, Gaily in the sunny beam; I listen'd to the wild birds singing, By a falling chrystal stream. At once the sky grew black and daring, While through the woods the whirlwinds rave; The trees with aged arms were warring, Across the swelling drumlie wave. Such was my life's deceitful morning, Such the pleasures I enjoy'd: But long ere noon loud tempests storming, All my flow'ry bliss destroy'd. Though fickle fortune has deceiv'd me, Promised fair, and perform'd but ill, Of many a joy and hope bereav'd me, I bear a heart shall support me still. ----Robert Burns