Franz Schubert and Carl Loewe: Erlkönig (The Erl King)

5 05 2009
Who rides so late through night and wind...

"Who rides so late through night and wind..."

One of the most iconic of German Lieder is Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Erlkönig. It is a story of a sick child whose father carries him home by horseback. The child is terrified by the “Erl King,” who threatens to take him by will or by force. The father doesn’t believe the child, thinking the child is hallucinating.

Unfortunately, this song is far too demanding for many pianists with its rapidly repeated triplets in the right hand, and it requires a singer with some serious dramatic chops to do it justice. Carl Loewe’s setting of the same text is also extremely effective and a masterpiece in its own right. Additionally, it is a great alternative to the Schubert.

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Franz Schubert: Ave Maria

15 03 2009

"O Mother, hear a suppliant child!"

This piece is, quite simply, a classic. The stillness and peace of this prayer to the mother of God are lovely and touching.

Though known primarily in its Latin version, that was not Schubert’s original, and in fact, he never added the latin text; it is an adaption. Schubert took the text from a translation of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. The text is just as prayerful and meaningful, though, as the Latin, in my humble opinion, and needs to be heard and studied.

For those still fond of the Latin version, I won’t withhold the information 🙂

And for those that prefer the Bach-Gounod version — I hear you and will feature that work soon enough





Franz Schubert: Der Leiermann, #24 from Winterreise, D. 911 / Op. 89

2 03 2009
The Hurdy Gurdy Man

The Hurdy Gurdy Man

The haunting final song of Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise tells of a lonely street musician. The final line asks, “Curious old man, should I go with you? Will you play my songs on your box?”

This song was also featured on Paul Schwartz’s album Aria 2 in 1999.