Hyperion Records

Zur guten Nacht, D903
First line:
Horcht auf! Es schlägt die Stunde
composer
January 1827; published in 1827 as Op 81 No 3
author of text

Recordings
'Schubert: The Complete Songs' (CDS44201/40)
Schubert: The Complete Songs
Buy by post £150.00 CDS44201/40  40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 6 – Anthony Rolfe Johnson' (CDJ33006)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 6 – Anthony Rolfe Johnson
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDJ33006  Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40  
Details
Track 16 on CDJ33006 [3'52] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 15 on CDS44201/40 CD32 [3'52] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Zur guten Nacht, D903
Although this song does not strictly belong to the canon of Schubert's Lieder, it is a good way to end a disc, and the composer also thought it a good way to conclude his opus 81. Like a good many of Schubert's songs for male voices, the music is simple, heartfelt, and very German in that it is easier to imagine a group of German men sitting around a table singing this song ('Ja, ja; was wir empfunden, was enger uns gebunden') about death and parting with tears pouring into their beer, than it is to imagine it in England. Nonetheless, this is music from 1827, and there is here something memorable and haunting which moves on a D major - B minor axis with noble and solemn tread. What sets it apart from countless other choral pieces in the same vein by other composers is a streak of Schubertian tenderness of a kind of which only he seems capable.

The three songs of Opus 81 were composed early in 1827 and rushed into print by May of the same year with a dedication to the poet from the publisher, Tobias Haslinger. This is some indication of the esteem in which Johann Friedrich Rochlitz was held. He was not only a well-known novelist, poet and playwright but a distinguished critic and founder and editor of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung of Leipzig in which Schubert's music received more favourable reviews than elsewhere. Schubert met the poet in 1822, but we find a complete lack of interest from the composer in currying favour with so powerful an individual, and it is probable that the publisher Haslinger had to push Schubert into writing the Rochlitz set of Op 81. Rochlitz had championed the young Beethoven, and though his credentials as a talent scout are not in question, he was a bit of a musical know-all and busybody. He wrote to Schubert in 1827, asking him to set a poem and providing almost blow-by-blow instructions about how to do so. The composer declined this invitation and the coolness of his reply shows how little he cared for the useful (and traditionally Viennese) arts of flattery and political opportunism.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDJ33006 track 16
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-90-00616
Duration
3'52
Recording date
30 September 1989
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 6 – Anthony Rolfe Johnson (CDJ33006)
    Disc 1 Track 16
    Release date: December 1990
    Deletion date: May 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 32 Track 15
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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