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Uhland’s ballad is terse and to the point; the story is told in sixteen tightly knit strophes. A novel usually has to be condensed to make an opera libretto, but a poem is another matter: for Schumann’s purposes Uhland’s ballad has to be expanded. Pohl broadens the scenario to include the various performances of ballads in different styles and moods by the two minstrels (merely mentioned in passing in the poem). The songs are only two of them—the first sung by the young man, the tenor, the second sung by the older ‘Harfner’, while the chorus members act as onlookers, as if they were awe-struck courtiers. Many of the words of the original ballad are retained, but Pohl uses ten other Uhland poems (either complete or in extracts) and adds words of his own to make sense of the connecting tissue of the narrative. The addition of a female voice as narrator makes for five solo voices in all (the king and queen are soprano and baritone).
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2009
extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 2010
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris
aus dem Begleittext von Graham Johnson © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber
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