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Sängers Morgenlied, D163

First line:
Süsses Licht! Aus goldnen Pforten
composer
First version; published in 1894
author of text

 
Theodor Körner has often been called the Rupert Brooke of his generation. He was only six years older than Schubert; young enough still to appear something of a contemporary, precocious and daredevil enough to inspire the teenage composer to a type of hero worship. Körner came from a literary family in Dresden; his father was an intimate friend of Schiller, no less. The young hothead was sent down from Leipzig University in 1811 for fighting in a duel. He moved to Vienna where one of his tragedies was put on at the Theater an der Wien and he became at nineteen the house dramatist of the Burgtheater. At this time, Josef von Spaun took Schubert (very much his protégé in those early years) to the opera to see Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride:

As we left the theatre we met the poet Körner with whom I was on very friendly terms. I presented the little composer to him, of whom he had already heard a certain amount from me. He was glad to make his acquaintance and encouraged Schubert to live for art, which would make him happy.

Later that evening in a restaurant Körner and Schubert almost got involved in a brawl in defence of the singers Milder and Vogl who were being insultingly discussed at the next table. Like the young Schumann's one encounter with Heine, this evening together was sufficient to make the composer fall under the spell of the poet. On that night in Spaun's and Körner's company, Schubert must have felt very much an artist, part of a community with shared ideals. His determination to resist parental pressure to stay in schoolteaching was strengthened by the youg poet's advice. Körner was killed in action at Gadebusch, a skirmish in the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon, in August 1813. He left five tragedies, five comedies, short stories and much poetry including the patriotic poems Leyer und Schwert, the impact and popularity of which were much enhanced by the manner of his death.

This song sets a poem taken from Körner's Knospen (Buds)—a title appropriate for a collection of freshly youthful, if not fully mature or original, poetry. Sängers Morgenlied is the first of Schubert's fourteen Körner settings and it deserves to be better known. There is a touch of Weber in the piano introduction and in the vocal melismas. This is music of high spirits which takes its cue from the exclamation mark after the first two words; it sparkles like bright light breaking through darkness. The poem has six verses of which we perform the first four.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 4 – Philip Langridge
CDJ33004Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40Download currently discounted

Details

Track 2 on CDJ33004 [2'23] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 10 on CDS44201/40 CD5 [2'23] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDS44201/40 disc 5 track 10

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-89-00402
Duration
2'23
Recording date
12 September 1988
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. 4 – Philip Langridge (CDJ33004)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: December 1989
    Deletion date: June 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 5 Track 10
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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