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Track(s) taken from CDA67866

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

Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: May 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2011
Total duration: 3 minutes 31 seconds

Cover artwork: The Fisherman and the Syren: From a ballad by Goethe (1857) by Frederic Leighton (1830-1896)
© Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Gerald Finley (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)


'As for the singing, I cannot praise it too highly. Florian Boesch has a warmly attractive baritone voice and his diction is first class, as is his response to the word meanings. Roger Vignoles's accompaniments, too, give great pleasure in themselves, especially in the pictorial devices which Loewe so relishes. The recording, as we expect from Hyperion, is first-class … if you are new to Loewe's music, I do urge you to try this richly rewarding CD. You won't be disappointed' (Gramophone)

'Boesch's performance demonstrates huge imaginative variety in characterisation … in such ways, Boesch emulates Loewe's own reputation, singing to his own accompaniment, as an 'actor-singer'. Vignoles matches him in playing of perception in what is pretty well an ideal introduction to a fascinating figure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is no better introduction to this great song composer; there are scarcely any more perfect song recitals on disc' (Classical Music)
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

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Songs by Schubert's friends and contemporaries
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