Hyperion Records

Liederkreis, Op 39
1-20 May & 22 June 1840
author of text
from Viel Lärmen um nichts, Ahnung und Gegenwart, and Dichter und ihre Gesellen

'Schumann: Kerner Lieder & Liederkreis' (CDH55011)
Schumann: Kerner Lieder & Liederkreis
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55011  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39' (CDA67944)
Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67944  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Schumann: The Complete Songs' (CDS44441/50)
Schumann: The Complete Songs
Buy by post £38.50 CDS44441/50  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 10 – Kate Royal' (CDJ33110)
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 10 – Kate Royal
Buy by post £10.50 CDJ33110 
'Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night
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'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1' (HYP12)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1
HYP12  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
No 01: In der Fremde  Aus der Heimat hinter den Blitzen rot
No 02: Intermezzo  Dein Bildnis wunderselig
No 03: Waldesgespräch  Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt
Track 3 on CDJ33110 [2'36]
Track 24 on CDS44441/50 CD2 [2'36] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 15 on CDH55011 [2'18] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 14 on HYP12 [2'18] Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
No 04: Die Stille  Es weiß und rät es doch Keiner
No 05: Mondnacht  Es war, als hätt' der Himmel
No 06: Schöne Fremde  Es rauschen die Wipfel und schauern
No 07: Auf einer Burg  Eingeschlafen auf der Lauer
No 08: In der Fremde  Ich hör' die Bächlein rauschen
No 09: Wehmut  Ich kann wohl manchmal singen
No 10: Zwielicht  Dämmrung will die Flügel spreiten
No 11: Im Walde  Es zog eine Hochzeit den Berg entlang
No 12: Frühlingsnacht  Überm Garten durch die Lüfte

Liederkreis, Op 39
In early May 1840—the ‘wunderschöne Monat’ that also saw the creation of Dichterliebe—Schumann turned to the quintessential poet of German Romanticism, Joseph, Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857), for another ‘song circle’. In a letter to Clara he called the twelve songs that make up the Liederkreis, Op 39 ‘my most romantic music ever, with much of you in it, dearest Clara’. Drawing variously on poems from Eichendorff’s stories Viel Lärmen um nichts (‘Much ado about nothing’) and Ahnung und Gegenwart (‘Present and Presentiment’), and his novel Dichter und ihre Gesellen (‘Poets and their companions’), these twelve vignettes are linked by recurrent, typically Eichendorffian themes—loss and loneliness, nocturnal mystery and menace, memory and antiquity, wistful reverie and rapturous soaring—and by thematic cross-references, usually veiled, occasionally explicit, as with the use of the same motif at the start of No 7 (‘Auf einer Burg’) and No 8 (‘In der Fremde’). With the Eichendorff Liederkreis Schumann virtually invented a new type of song: the romantic night-piece, serene, ecstatic or ominous.

The opening ‘In der Fremde’ is typical in its expression of estrangement and nostalgia amid a dark, woodland landscape. Schumann’s tune has a haunting pathos, discreetly heightened by its gently rippling arpeggio accompaniment. The German forest is at its most sinister in ‘Waldesgespräch’ (No 3), a variation on the Lorelei myth, with its dramatically timed moment of recognition and ironically echoing hunting-horns (dying away eerily in the piano postlude), and again in ‘Zwielicht’ (No 10). Here the keyboard part coils around the voice like a tortuous Bach three-part invention, with an oppressive chromaticism that threatens to dissolve familiar tonal outlines. ‘Auf einer Burg’ evokes a mysterious antiquity with its gloomy, incantatory vocal line, modal harmonies and solemn touches of canonic imitation. In the penultimate song, ‘Im Walde’, the wedding and the hunt, evoked as if through a gauze in Schumann’s music, suddenly fade, leaving only the sighing forest and the poet’s nameless fears amid the darkening inner and outer landscapes.

At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Intermezzo’ (No 2) is an increasingly impassioned avowal of love to Clara, growing from a falling five-note figure Schumann often associated with her. ‘Die Stille’ is a more secretive—and feminine—confession (the German title means both ‘stillness’ and ‘the silent girl’), with a sudden soaring at ‘Ich wünscht’, ich wär’ ein Vöglein’. ‘Schöne Fremde’ (No 6) and ‘Frühlingsnacht’(No 12), with its evanescent wisps of countermelody and triumphant final ‘sie ist Dein!’, are shimmering visions of physical and spiritual elation, while ‘Mondnacht’ (No 5) is perhaps the world’s loveliest vocal nocturne. Here Schumann magically delays the resolution on to the tonic chord until ‘Die Erde’ in bar ten, the moment of mystical-erotic union between sky and earth, Robert and Clara.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2012

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDJ33110 track 6
Schöne Fremde
Recording date
4 August 2006
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 10 – Kate Royal (CDJ33110)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: November 2007
  2. Schumann: The Complete Songs (CDS44441/50)
    Disc 2 Track 27
    Release date: September 2010
    10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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