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Romanze, D144

First line:
In der Väter Hallen ruhte
composer
April 1816; fragment first published in 1897 in the Revisions-Bericht of the Gesamtausgabe; completed by Reinhard van Hoorickx; Schubert set the first three lines only
arranger
author of text

 
This fragment consists of five bars of voice and piano and a further two bars of vocal line up to and including the word 'erfreute'. It was written on the obverse side of the manuscript of another Stolberg setting Daphne am Bach. These bars have been crossed out by the composer who after painting the grim majesty of Sir Rudolf's baronial hall lost the inclination to continue the story. It is clear that Schubert's taste for ballads is beginning to desert him. The poem has thirteen strophes in all and tells of the love of the fair Agnes, Rudolf's daughter, for Albrecht. The jealous Horst challenges him to joust and kills him. In the end all three involved in the love triangle are dead and we have something of re-run of Der Tod Oscars. A year or two earlier Schubert would probably have completed the work in the manner of the Matthisson Romanze or the Kenner Ballade.

But all we have from Schubert is the rather impressive opening bars. Mention of the Saracens in the first verse prompts him to the same musical atmosphere which he used in Der Kreuzzug over a decade later - a similar solemn march in 4/4 where the crusades are depicted as a serious and holy business. The completion by Reinhard Van Hoorickx is one of his best; it modestly and wisely attempts only to finish the first strophe, and the poem's second verse also fits well enough to this strangely imposing music. One can imagine that Schubert would have used it also for the last strophe of the poem where the stoic Sir Rudolf without tears and without complaint holds the body of his daughter for two days and then also dies. The medieval setting and the atmosphere of almost phlegmatic stoicism bring to mind the Schiller setting Ritter Toggenburg from March 1816.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 23 – Christoph Prégardien
CDJ33023Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40

Details

Track 9 on CDJ33023 [2'05] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 25 on CDS44201/40 CD13 [2'05] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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