Mozart – Aria: “Ach, ich fuhl’s” from The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) K. 620

by Max Derrickson

Aria: “Ach, ich fuhl’s” from The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) K. 620

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(Born in Salzburg in 1756; died in Vienna in 1791)

By the summer of 1791, Vienna had seemed to turn its back on its once favorite composer, and Mozart was facing probable financial ruin.  But there was a glint of hope.  At the same time, Mozart’s old friend, a Masonic brother Emmanuel Schikaneder, proposed an out of the ordinary project for Mozart, a new opera singspiel based on fairy tales and comical entertainment [. . .]

[. . .]

The story takes place in Egypt (where legend tells us is the birthplace of the Masons), sometime around 1300 BC, and centers upon Tamino, a handsome young prince who finds himself on a quest to rescue the daughter, the lovely Pamina, of the Queen of the Night, and once he rescues her he will be granted her hand in marriage.  Along with his comic side-kick, Papageno (a half-man, half bird – it’s never quite clear what his biological background is), they are given a Magic Flute and a set of magic Bells to ward off evil.  They find Pamina in the care of the High Priest of Isis and Osiris, Sarasato, and to their astonishment they come to find that he is not kidnapping her but, in fact, is protecting Pamina from her evil mother, the Queen of the Night.  Seeing Tamino’s purity, Sarasato agrees to let him and Pamina marry, but only after a set of trials to test his and Papageno’s mettle and purity, and in these adventures the Magic Flute and Bells come in handy.  Success achieved, Sarasato celebrates the marriage of Tamino to Pamina, and banishes the evil Queen and her minions.

Mozart’s score sparkles with the magic and genius of a master at play.  The music is appreciable on many levels, from giddy, simple tunes, to wonderfully sophisticated moments of complex counterpoint – the whole tied together with many exquisite melodies.  One such beautiful aria is Pamina’s aria from Act Two “Ach, ich fuhl’s (Ah, I feel it).”  Tamino has sworn a Vow of Silence [. . .] sounding much like a movement from a requiem, spare, somber.  [. . .]

The premiere of The Magic Flute was met with only modest enthusiasm, but within a few days during its run it had become an extraordinary success, and it has charmed audiences ever since.  It was the highlight [. . .] George Bernard Shaw, [. . .] “the music of my own church –” [. . .]

German Text
Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden,
Ewig hin der Liebe Glück!
Nimmer kommt ihr Wonnestunde
Meinem Herzen mehr zurück!
Sieh’, Tamino, diese Tränen,
Fließen, Trauter, dir allein!
Fühlst du nicht der Liebe Sehnen,
So wird Ruh’ im Tode sein!