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Track(s) taken from CDA68010

Auf der Donau, D553

First line:
Auf der Wellen Spiegel schwimmt der Kahn
April 1817; published in 1823 as Op 21 No 1
author of text

Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: November 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: February 2014
Total duration: 2 minutes 56 seconds

Cover artwork: The Wanderer Above the Sea of Mist (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)

Other recordings available for download

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)


'Florian Boesch is the kind of baritone who, once heard, makes you want to hear him in any and all repertoire appropriate to his voice. A more alluringly rich voice than Christian Gerhaher’s is hard to imagine until hearing Boesch, who has a greater capacity for soft singing, maintaining an interpretatively interesting tone even in pianissimos … Boesch isn’t the sort of singer who tells you what to think or feel in this music. He lays it out with hugely attractive (and protracted) clarity and then lets you enter the music a fuller participant' (Gramophone)

'Boesch's singing is faultless: he's in fine voice and marvellously alert to every verbal nuance, without ever fracturing the line for the sake of the text. Vignoles, playing some of Schubert's most taxing accompaniments, tirelessly matches his every emotional shift. Very fine' (The Guardian)» More

'Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles are two of the best performers of Lieder in our time … Boesch sings with the gentle sadness which pervades most of the songs that follow, his rich, true baritone voice reflective rather than assertive, the words all the more moving for the restraint with which they are delivered … this fine disc, pervaded with sadness though it is, has a great deal to offer those who love Schubert’s songs. There is an excellent booklet note by Richard Wigmore, and his own very good translations' (International Record Review)» More

'The Romantic outsider fated or choosing to live beyond the bounds of society is the main theme of this striking collection. Boesch, who recently released a powerfully convincing Schöne Müllerin cycle, has an ideal voice, at once dark and dazzling, and his accompanist —except that Schubert's rich, inventive piano parts are so much more than accompaniments—is perfect' (The Sunday Times)» More
The poet Mayrhofer is here in typically pessimistic mood. Although the song seems at first to be an innocuous barcarolle there is from the beginning a feeling of imminent sunset. The piano figurations of the beginning recall Mozart's Abendempfindung—a song which also ponders the shortness of the mortal coil. At the mention of the ghostly pine forest the water music becomes the responsibility of the left hand and the right hand tremolando rustles gently and mysteriously. The middle verse draws historical pictures which put us in mind of some of Schumann's Eichendorff Liederkreis songs and also that composer's Heine setting Berg' und Burgen which is a Rhine counterpart of this Danube journey. The grandeur of fallen heroes is announced by left hand trills which are submerged echoes of glories long past. As in the song Der Schäfer und der Reiter (written in the same month) Schubert uses such trills as historical stylisation; for him they mean ancient minstrelsy. These rumblings, as John Reed points out, also bring to mind the ominous left hand trills in the first movement of Schubert's B flat Piano Sonata, D960. If this song is full of references to other things, so are the words; we are being taught a lesson by allusion, and the images and sights of this Danube journey all refer to decay and death. The end of the song is utterly desolate. The voice plunges like a sun setting on man's puny works and destiny. The chordal alternations of the postlude are a minor key version of the postlude to Nacht und Träume; here they signify bad dreams and waking nightmares. Mayrhofer often used the stick of classical antiquity with which to beat his own generation, but here he sets his parable in broad Austrian daylight. But Schubert is so much on the poet's wavelength that he recognizes and colours these waters as the Styx by another name: this song is a true companion piece to that other 1817 Mayrhofer masterpiece Fabrt zum Hades.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1988

Other albums featuring this work

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 2 - Stephen Varcoe
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