Hyperion Records

Minnespiel, Op 101
1-5 June 1849
author of text
Gesammelte Gedichte, Volume 1, 1836

'Schumann: The Complete Songs' (CDS44441/50)
Schumann: The Complete Songs
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'Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 11 – Hanno Müller-Brachmann' (CDJ33111)
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 11 – Hanno Müller-Brachmann
'Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night
No 1: Meine Töne still und heiter
Track 12 on CDJ33111 [4'04]
Track 10 on CDS44441/50 CD8 [4'04] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 2: Liebster, deine Worte stehlen
No 3: Ich bin dein Baum
No 4: Mein schöner Stern!
No 5: Schön ist das Fest des Lenzes
No 6: O Freund, mein Schirm, mein Schutz!
Track 17 on CDJ33111 [3'01]
Track 15 on CDS44441/50 CD8 [3'01] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 7: Die tausend Grüsse
No 8: So wahr die Sonne scheinet

Minnespiel, Op 101  

Minnespiel, Op 101
This set of eight Rückert settings—four solos, two duets, two quartets—contains much beautiful music. Surprisingly (and similarly to the slightly earlier Spanisches Liederspiel Op 78) the baritone is ignored in terms of being given a solo of his own and two of the songs are allocated to the tenor. The work was written in the summer of 1849 following the abortive revolution in Dresden in May of that year (an incident in Schumann’s life fully discussed in the notes to Volume 9 of this series). The diaries show us that this was far from being an uncomplicated period in the composer’s life in terms of his mood-swings and moments of anguished depression. Eric Sams believed that it was in the Minnespiel that we first begin to see deteriorative change in Schumann: ‘there are ominous signs not only in the man but in the music’. It is true that there are moments of edginess here, a certain awkwardness, that are not to be found in the music of 1840; but modern scholarship would certainly give this admittedly uneven work the benefit of the doubt as being simply a gateway work into the composer’s later style—in itself a conscious change of stylistic direction rather than simply the deterioration that Sams diagnoses. Under the fingers, however, some of Minnespiel feels less effective than it might, and the pianist operating on the shop floor, as it were, may give Sams’s view slightly more credence. For the singers this is not entirely a straightforward work either—particularly in terms of shape and tempo—and only the most assured performance of this cycle, seemingly conceived for domestic presentation, will receive an enthusiastic response from listeners.

Schumann’s poetic source for Minnespiel was the first volume of six in Rückert’s Gesammelte Gedichte printed in Erlangen by the firm of Carl Heyder; this initial instalment was issued in 1836. A large portion of the volume is given over to the same Liebesfrühling poems in five sections (or ‘Sträuße’, each being a huge poetic garland or bouquet) that had been the source of Schumann’s Op 37 songs from 1841 recorded much earlier in the Hyperion series, as well as texts in the Op 25 Myrten: Widmung, the two Lieder der Braut, and Zum Schluss.

The composer seems to have searched far and wide within these many poems for his purposes (see the outline below). From the musical point of view he has clearly gone to some trouble to tie this music together in terms of the progression of tonalities. The work begins and ends in G major with substantial C major pieces at either end of the cycle to reinforce the plagal or religious aspect of a work where marriage represents a holy commitment. The central songs move into the flat keys and return to C and G major via a single song in a minor key. The keys for the individual songs are given below; taken together they make an exemplary tonal scheme for a work of this kind:

(i) Meine Töne still und heiter and Die Liebste hat mit Schweigen (two separate poems joined into a single song) are Nos V and IV of a vast 85-poem ‘Zwischenspiel’ (Interlude) rather strangely placed within the body of the second section of Liebesfrühling (‘Zweiter Strauß’) which in itself has 55 numbered poems (pp.278–9); G major (first poem) and C major (second poem).

(ii) Liebster, deine Worte stehlen is No XXXVIII of the first section (‘Erster Strauß’), pp.232–3; after the line of introductory recitative the key is G major.

(iii) Ich bin dein Baum is No XLIII of the same section as (ii) above, p.235; E flat major.

(iv) Mein schöner Stern! is No XXIV of the ‘Zweiter Strauß’, p.253; E flat major (with a deliberately delayed arrival in the tonic).

(v) Schön ist das Fest des Lenzes is No V of the third section (‘Dritter Strauß’), p.271; B flat major.

(vi) O Freund, mein Schirm, mein Schutz! is No LIV of the fourth section (‘Vierter Strauß’), p.423; G minor.

(vii) Die tausend Grüße is No XVI of the ‘Zweiter Strauß’, p.246–7; C major.

(viii) So wahr die Sonne scheinet is No XVIII of the ‘Erster Strauß’, p.222; G major.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2009

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Details for CDS44441/50 disc 8 track 12
No 3: Ich bin dein Baum
Recording date
1 June 2000
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard & Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Schumann: The Complete Songs (CDS44441/50)
    Disc 8 Track 12
    Release date: September 2010
    10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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