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But all we have from Schubert is the rather impressive opening bars. Mention of the Saracens in the first verse prompts him to the same musical atmosphere which he used in Der Kreuzzug over a decade later—a similar solemn march in 4/4 where the crusades are depicted as a serious and holy business. The completion by Reinhard Van Hoorickx is one of his best; it modestly and wisely attempts only to finish the first strophe, and the poem's second verse also fits well enough to this strangely imposing music. One can imagine that Schubert would have used it also for the last strophe of the poem where the stoic Sir Rudolf without tears and without complaint holds the body of his daughter for two days and then also dies. The medieval setting and the atmosphere of almost phlegmatic stoicism bring to mind the Schiller setting Ritter Toggenburg from March 1816.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995
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