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Lied 'Mutter geht durch ihre Kammern', D373

15 January (?) 1816; first published in 1895
author of text

Schubert is like Autolycus in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale of whom it was said; 'He hath songs for man, or woman, of all sizes; no milliner can so fit his customers with gloves.' The words by de la Motte Fouqué are from that writer's famous novella Undine (1811), the tale of a water-sprite who in the manner of Hans Christian Andersen's little mermaid falls in love with a mortal, the knight Huldbrand. She marries him and thereby acquires a soul, but Huldbrand soon falls in love with the beautiful Bertalda who is thought to be the daughter of a duke. This little ballad is sung by Undine in the book's eleventh chapter; the tale of desperate parents who have lost their child leads up to Undine's somewhat malicious revelation that her rival Bertalda's parents are in fact a poor fisher couple. Bertalda, who has long thought herself to be of noble birth, is horrified to be claimed by them.

Schubert succeeds in making this folksong-like music have the character of spell or incantation. It is somehow much more memorable than a tune of this simplicity deserves to be. There is no doubt that the composer would have read De la Motte Fouqué's short work from cover to cover, and that he would also have been aware of the supernatural, almost Lorelei character of the singer of these words. Perhaps he was drawn to them also because of the many sad experiences of infant mortality in his father's household. We have to imagine the emotional crises in the cramped family circle between the death and burial of the young composer's various brothers and sisters; visits to the graveyard must have been a regular occurrence.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/40Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 17 - Lucia Popp
CDJ33017Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 1 on CDJ33017 [1'49] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 13 on CDS44201/40 CD12 [1'49] Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDS44201/40 disc 12 track 13

Recording date
9 April 1992
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. 17 - Lucia Popp (CDJ33017)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: April 1993
    Deletion date: September 2019
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 12 Track 13
    Release date: October 2005
    Deletion date: July 2021
    Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
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