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Track(s) taken from CDJ33051/3

Erlkönig, Op 1 No 3

First line:
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
author of text
from the 1782 play Die Fischerin; adapted from a Danish folk ballad

Gerald Finley (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: October 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2005
Total duration: 3 minutes 21 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)


'This enterprising, often revelatory set should intrigue and delight anyone interested in the development of the Lied' (Gramophone)

'Since making music with friends was Schubert's whole raison d'etre, this 3-CD box is an inspired idea … led by the soprano Susan Gritton, the performances are pure A-list' (The Independent)

'Anyone who loves lieder will find here a rich, diverse, and delightful offering. There isn't a bad song among the 81 songs by 40 composers who wrote during Schubert's lifetime, and there's a lot of fine music here by well-known and also practically unknown composers and poets. The singing is consistently excellent… anyone interested in this genre will find here a broad-ranging and generous collection' (American Record Guide)

'If 81 songs are too many to mention individually, sufficient variety exists and enough songs are receiving a first recording for this set to be indispensable for anyone interested in the genre' (International Record Review)

'Graham Johnson once again demonstrates that he has few peers today in his combined function as scholar-musician' (Fanfare, USA)
The poem of 'Erlkönig'—adapted from a Danish folk ballad—comes from a little-known Goethe play with music, Die Fischerin, performed at the Weimar court in 1782. The fisher-girl of the title, Dortchen, sings it softly to herself one evening as she mends her nets. What Goethe expected (and, in Weimar, got) was a simple quasi-folk tune repeated for each verse. Schubert in 1815 recreated the poem in music of searing dramatic power. Loewe’s song, composed two years later, is less violently ‘interventionist’ than Schubert’s, more faithful to the externals of the narrative—doubtless part of its appeal to Goethe—but hardly less powerful. Wagner, for one, far preferred the Loewe setting. Where Schubert immediately establishes an atmosphere of panic with the feverishly pounding hooves, Loewe initially depicts the eerily rustling leaves, with the galloping motion merely implied. Only after the father’s first, comforting words to the sick boy does the galloping rhythm become explicit. The hypnotically repeated nursery tune for the Erlking’s words acquires a seductive-sinister twist from the flicking grace notes; and while Loewe’s song is generally more restrained than Schubert’s, his ending, conversely, is more melodramatic, with pregnant silences and a ‘shock’ diminished seventh chord on ‘tot’.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011

Das Gedicht über den Erlkönig—eine Bearbeitung einer dänischen Volksballade—stammt aus einem kaum bekannten Singspiel Goethes, Die Fischerin, das 1782 am Weimarer Hof aufgeführt wurde. Darin singt das Fischermädchen Dortchen die Ballade leise vor sich hin, als sie eines Abends ihre Netze flickt. Goethe erwartete eine schlichte, volksmusikartige Melodie, die Strophe für Strophe wiederholt würde (so geschah es in Weimar auch). Schuberts musikalische Nachempfindung des Gedichts von 1815 war von schneidender dramatischer Kraft. Loewes Lied entstand zwei Jahre später und ist weniger leidenschaftlich und weniger „interventionistisch“ gehalten und mehr dem Text angepasst als Schuberts Vertonung—was sicherlich einer der Gründe dafür war, warum Goethe es schätzte—jedoch ist es kaum weniger wirkungsvoll. Wo Schubert sofort mit den fieberhaft galoppierenden Hufen eine panikartige Atmosphäre erzeugt, stellt Loewe zunächst das schaurig raschelnde Laub dar, wobei das Galoppieren lediglich angedeutet wird. Erst nach den ersten tröstlichen Worten des Vaters an seinen kranken Sohn wird der galoppierende Rhythmus explizit dargestellt. Das hypnotisch wiederholte Kinderlied für die Worte des Erlkönigs nimmt durch die schnippenden Vorhalte eine verführerisch-sinistere Färbung an, und während Loewes Lied im Großen und Ganzen zurückhaltender ist als Schuberts, ist sein Schluss jedoch, mit bedeutungsvollen Pausen und einem „schockierenden“ verminderten Septakkord bei „tot“, melodramatischer gehalten.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2011
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Loewe: Songs & Ballads
CDA67866Download currently discounted
Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price) — CD temporarily out of stock
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