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Hebbel, Christian Friedrich (1813-1863)

Christian Friedrich Hebbel

born: 1813
died: 1863
country: Germany

Friedrich Hebbel, famed for his historical and biblical dramas, was one of the most distinguished literary men of his day. His work was of constant interest to Schumann – although there was no real friendship between the two men. We know that Schumann read Hebbel’s Judith, Maria Magdalene (a ‘tragedy of common life’ which depicts the lower middle-class milieu from which the poet sprang), the comedy Der Diamant, and the tragedy Agnes Bernauer. Of greatest interest however was Hebbel’s Genoveva, written in 1840, which was the basis for Schumann’s opera of the same name (his only attempt in this genre) which was composed between 1847 and 1848. Clara Schumann visited Hebbel in Vienna in January 1856 and was struck by his stiffness and coldness. Perhaps he disapproved of Schumann’s opera. Hebbel’s study of Hegel’s concepts of history were an important part of his modernising effect on German literature, and his explorations of the Siegfried myth were of significance to Wagner.

A surprising number of composers set Hebbel’s poetry to music: Johannes Brahms (in two songs Op 58 Nos 6 and 7, and a vocal quartet), Liszt, Cornelius, Reger, Wolf (two 1878 songs from the Nachgelassene Lieder, and the better known Die Vöglein published in Sechs Lieder für eine Frauenstimme), Pfitzner, Berg, Othmar Schoeck and Paul Hindemith.

from notes by Graham Johnson

Albums

Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night
CDA66053Archive Service
Cornelius: The Three Kings & other choral works
CDA67206Download currently discounted
Reger: Choral Music
CDA67762
Schumann & Brahms: Voices of the Night
CDA66053Archive Service
Schumann: The Complete Songs
CDS44441/5010CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 10 – Kate Royal
CDJ33110
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3 – Juliane Banse
CDJ33103
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 7 – Dorothea Röschmann & Ian Bostridge
CDJ33107Archive Service
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 9 – Ann Murray & Felicity Lott
CDJ33109
Women's lives and loves
CDA67563

Alphabetical listing of all musical works

Abendlied  
Ballade vom Haideknaben  
Das Glück  
Der Knabe träumt, man schickte ihn fort  
Friedlich bekämpfen  
Im Kreise der Vasallen sitzt  
Lieder und Gesänge I, Op 27 (Schumann)
Lieder-Album für die Jugend, Op 79 (Schumann)
Requiem 'Seele, vergiß sie nicht' (Cornelius)
Requiem, Op 144b (Reger)
Sag' an, o lieber Vogel mein  
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf  
Schön Hedwig, Op 106 (Schumann)
Seele, vergiss sie nicht  
Vier Duette, Op 78 (Schumann)
Vier Lieder, Op 92 (Brahms)
Vöglein vom Zweig  
Wiegenlied am Lager eines kranken Kindes  
Zwei Balladen für Deklamation, Op 122 (Schumann)
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