SCHUBERT: Lied Edition 8 - Schiller, Vol. 2 (Regina Jakobi/ Ulrich Eisenlohr) (Naxos: 8.554741)
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THE DEUTSCHE SCHUBERT-LIED-EDITION
In 1816 Franz Schubert, together with hiscircle of friends, decided to publish a collection of all the songs which hehad so far written. Joseph Spaun, whom Schubert had known since his schooldays, tried his (and Schubert's) luck in a letter to the then unquestionedMaster of the German language, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
A selectionof German songs will constitute the beginning of this edition; it will consistof eight volumes. The first two (the first of which, as an example, you willfind in our letter) contains poems written by your Excellency, the third,poetry by Schiller, the fourth and fifth, works by Klopstock, the sixth byMathison, Holty, Salis etc., the seventh and eighth contain songs by Ossian,whose works are quite exceptional.
The Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition follows thecomposer's original concept. All Schubert's Lieder,over 700 songs, will be grouped according to the poets who inspiredhim, or according to the circle of writers, contemporaries, members of certainliterary movements and so on, whose works Schubert chose to set to music.
Fragments and alternative settings, providing their length and quality makethem worth recording, and works for two or more voices with piano accompanimentwill also make up a part of the edition.
Schubert set the poetry of over 115 writers tomusic. He selected poems from classical Greece, the Middle Ages and theRenaissance, from eighteenth-century German authors, early Romantics, Biedermeier poets, his contemporaries,and, of course, finally, poems by Heinrich Heine, although sadly the two nevermet.
The entire edition is scheduled for completionby 2005. Thanks to the Neue Schubert Ausgabe(New Schubert Edition), published by Barenreiter, which uses primarysources -autograph copies wherever possible -the performers have been able tobenefit from the most recent research of the editorial team. For the firsttime, the listener and the interested reader can follow Schubert' s textualalterations and can appreciate the importance the written word had for thecomposer.
The project's Artistic Advisor is the pianistUlrich Eisenlohr, who has chosen those German-speaking singers who representthe elite of today's young German Lieder singers, performers whose artistic contribution,he believes, will stand the test of time.
Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) Settings ofpoems by Schiller, Vol. 2
When in 1787 Friedrich Schiller first visitedWeimar, the residence of Duke Karl August and a place so important in Germancultural history, it was because of the 'three Weimar giants', Christoph MartinWieland, the elegant poet of the rococo, the court preacher Johann GottfriedHerder, and, naturally, the youngest and most charismatic of these 'giants',Goethe, who was then on his famous Italian journey. Today Goethe and Schillerare the embodiment of the Weimar classical period.
Schiller was the son of an officer and wasborn in 1759 at Marbach-am-Neckar, not far from the magnificent capital ofW??rttemberg at Ludwigsburg. From 1773 to 1780 he attended the stronglydisciplined military Pflanzschule, later the Hohe Karlsschule, an elite academyestablished by Duke Karl Eugen of W??rttemberg, who showed no compunction inrecruiting talented boys from his dukedom. Schiller next turned to the study oflaw and then of medicine. Poetry in this academy so cut off from the outerworld was for him, with his love of freedom, a means of expressing his hatredof tyranny and an important outlet. Here his first dramatic work took shape.
With the sensational first performance of DieRauber ('The Robbers') in Mannheim at the beginning of 1782, a workthat soon became a symbol of Sturm und Drang theatre, Schiller won fameovernight, although he was for a long time unable t0 secure his materialposition through his work as a poet.
Schiller had been forbidden by the Duke towrite and was obliged to escape by night to Mannheim in the Palatinate. Therefollowed years in the circle of Christian Gottfried Korner in Leipzig andDresden. Meanwhile Schiller had devoted himself to historical studies and inthese he became absorbed during his first period in Weimar. As a result in May1789, when he was not yet thirty, he became, surely unusually, professor ofhistory at Jena. From 1794 he was in closer friendly communication with Goethe,and in 1799 he returned to Weimar, not least, as he himself said, to have'experience of the theatre', since these last years were important, above all,in the continuation of his dramatic work. Schiller died on 9th May 1805.
Our second volume of Schiller songs offers thepossibility in two cases of comparing two Schubert settings of the same text.
Sehnsucht ('Longing') is the earliest work in thepresent recording, composed by the sixteen-year-old Schubert in April 1813. Inspite of the characteristic strongly rhythmical pattern of the four eight-linestrophes of Schiller's late poem Schubert avoids a strophic lay-out. Certainspecial features of the text may have proved 100 great a temptation for theyoung composer to provide correspondingly specific music, as with the threat ofthe stream (dotted fortissimo chords) or the rocking of the boat (agitatedsemiquaver figuration). The first verse is formally interrupted in the middle, Dort erblick ich schone H??gel ('There Iglimpse fair hills') by the insertion of recitative. A much longer passage ofrecitative is found with the heartfelt sigh at the beginning of the thirdverse, and the passage that includes the last six lines of the poem iscontained in the form of an (aria-) stretta - an accelerated special coda. Thewhole composition offers a noteworthy mixture of youthful genius, a free graspof the textual material and, in part, an unmistakable technical awkwardness, acharacteristic of many of Schubert's early songs.
When Schubert tackled the poem again in 1821,he created what was certainly no true strophic song, but a rather moresong-like setting: it now avoids completely passages of recitative and yet thefirst half of the third verse uses again the corresponding music from thesecond verse (Schubert essentially look the rapid final passage from theearlier version). Naturally here 100 the powerful images of the threateningstream and the rocking boat are given corresponding music, yet they are, a verycharacteristic tendency of the second setting, so far interwoven that thepattern of figuration of the right hand in the keyboard part continues,including both places. Masterly too are the prelude and interlude in the piano,which stand almost as musical headings over the respective following poetic andmusical passages and not unimportant in their contribution to the expression oftension between the dreary present situation and the desired ideal.
The three-strophe Hoffnung ('Hope') is arranged by Schubert in both versionsas a strophic song. Here too there is a handling of nuances that reveals thelater setting (c.1819) as a maturer work. The dark-sounding piano prelude andinterlude is important on this account (the simple first setting startsimmediately with the song). It is above all the confident, jaunty 6/8 metrethat makes the special character of the second version; in this way the basictone of the poem is exactly achieved. While in the first version (1815) theclosing lines are repeated as a whole, the second version divides those lines,repeating respectively the two parts, which, with this double statement, is farmore eloquent.
DieB??rgschaft ('TheBond') (1798), set i