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Punschlied 'Im Norden zu singen', D253

First line:
Auf der Berge freien Höhen
first published in 1885 in volume 7 of the Peters Edition
author of text

This is another of those hearty drinking songs which the composer seemed delighted to provide for musical gatherings in 1815. It is unusual only in that it is a duet. Schubert composed only two songs for mixed voices singing simultaneously, Licht und Liebe and Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, both for tenor and soprano, and this is his only duet for two tenors. It can also be sung without accompaniment and its inclusion in the seventh volume of the Peters Edition suggests that it would even work as a solo song. Drinking is a communal activity, however, and Einstein is probably right to think that a number of the other songs of ‘convivial character’ in the solo volumes might also be sung as choruses. Unlike certain of the male chorus songs where the piano accompaniment does no more than double and shadow the voice part (as if written for rehearsal purposes, which in some cases it almost certainly was), this Punschlied has an invigoratingly pianistic underlay which goes well with the marking ‘Feurig’ (fiery). The proudly repeated chords in B flat major at the beginning (the repetitive assertion of the key has a defiant Beethovenian ring to it) are in the manner of a polonaise, which may be the composer’s way of depicting ‘the North’. (After all, he used a similar rhythm for Lied eines gefangenen Jägers set in the cold north of Scotland.) The two-bar postlude, tricky to play, reinforces the polonaise rhythm and adds to the piece’s high spirits which sparkle and foam in the jug thanks to the pianist’s nimble bar-tending talents. This Punschlied is not to be confused with another Schiller chorus of the same name (D277, also marked ‘Feurig’ and also composed in 1815 ).

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 20
CDJ33020Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 25 on CDJ33020 [1'25] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 22 on CDS44201/40 CD8 [1'25] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDJ33020 track 25

Recording date
1 November 1993
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 20 (CDJ33020)
    Disc 1 Track 25
    Release date: March 1994
    Deletion date: January 2010
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 8 Track 22
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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