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Die frühen Gräber, D290

First line:
Willkommen, o silberner Mond
published in 1837
author of text

By any Standards this setting has a beautiful and haunting melody, tinged with regret, even anguish, but maintaining a poise absolutely appropriate to someone who has learned the lessons of consolation that only nature, perceived through the discipline of the classics, can provide. It is, however, the type of song which is easily overshadowed by its more outgoing neighbours. The dactylic rhythm of the first part of the verse is quintessential Schubert. It is a perpetual wonder that in the depiction of something as insubstantial and translucent as moonlight, the composer never fails to provide a new beam of inspiration, an atmosphere set apart from down-to-earth reality, which could never be confused with the sunny concerns of everyday life.

Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was born near Hamburg, and brought up with a sound classical training influenced by Pietistic thought. His enthusiasm for the works of Milton, and in particular Paradise Lost (translated by Bodmer) led to the writing of his acknowledged masterpiece Der Messias, the first part of which appeared in print in the poet's twenty-fourth year and which was eventually translated into seventeen languages. This work quickly won him a huge reputation. He began to write a series of Odes in 1747, a free-verse form he was to pursue all his life. In 1751, at the invitation of the King of Denmark, he moved to Copenhagen, where he lived for twenty years. He met and married Margarethe (Meta) Moller (the 'Cidli' of a number of love poems, two of which Schubert set) in 1754. It is her death in childbirth which is commemorated by the two poems set to music by Schubert on this disc. After experimentation in the fields of patriotic historical drama and religious poetry he returned to Germany where he was influential on the group around the young Goethe at Strasburg University, and even more on the circle of poets known as the 'Göttinger Hainbund'. It has always been a moot point among Germanists whether Klopstock was an innovator, the final flowering of the spirit of the Baroque, or an irrelevant dry-as-dust figure. His later writings include a tract on spelling reform, and works which were first pro, then violently anti, the upheaval of the French Revolution. He was an early enthusiast of Teutonic mythology, and wrote three plays about the early German hero Aminius.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990


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CDS44201/40Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
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Track 5 on CDJ33008 [2'26] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 11 on CDS44201/40 CD10 [2'26] Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only

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