Oliver Rosteck, the vocal ensemble leader of the Studiooper der Universität Bremen
, introduced me this lovely German folk song in the form of a Johannes Brahms
arrangement for vocal quartet. It was a great pleasure to sing it under Oliver's direction at the Schönbergiade 02
and Ceilidh 2002
in June 2002. The song itself is a gentle tale of our narrator out riding in the woods when he heard three birds singing. The birds however turned out to be not of the avian variety but of fine young ladies of whom two of their names were known namely Ursulein and Bärbelein. The third had no name but finished up having the narrator's name in a little hut at the edge of the woods. What then pursued is not gone into as the tale abruptly ends after four verses. Perhaps the ending was so obvious to the performers and listeners in those days that further embellishments were entirely unnecessary.