Recorded on 11/05/2008, uploaded on 05/02/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Continuing the development of the German Lied which Franz
Schubert had begun, Schumann raised the form to a new level of poetical
expression. He began composing for piano and voice in 1840—the same year he
finally married Clara Wieck. Known as the "Year of Song," he produced no less
than 130 songs in that year alone. Among these were the Myrthen and Dichterliebe
cycles which contain some of Schumann's most widely popular songs. In general,
his songs are characterized by a close integration of the piano and vocal line,
stating that the piano was no mere accompaniment but, instead, a vital means of
augmenting the expression of the lyrics.
Three of the five songs that make up the Lieder und Gesänge
Vol. II, op. 51 were composed during the Year of Song and the set as a
whole was published in 1850. The first song, "Sehnsucht" ("Yearning") by
Emanuel Geibel, expresses a longing for a halcyon land somewhere in the south,
yet the poet is trapped in the barren north. Cast in a rather loose strophic
form, the melody is wistful with a repeated-chord accompaniment that mostly
mimics the voice. The second song, "Volkliedchen" ("Little Folksong") by Rückert,
is set quite simply and appropriately to its title. The narrator here expresses
her feelings for her lover as she walks through her garden every morning. The
middle song of the set, "Ich wand're nicht" ("I do not wander") by Christern,
is cast in a straightforward strophic form and tells of the poet's lack of desire
to travel the world because his beloved will not accompany him.
Dating from 1846, the fourth song, "Auf dem Rhein" ("On the
Rhine") by K. L. Immermann, makes reference to the Nibelungen that would later
serve as the basis for Richard Wagner's magnificent Ring cycle. The narrator
compares her lover to the treasure hid at the bottom of the Rhine and which no
one can steal away from her. The setting is solemen with the vocal line being
almost chant-like accompanied by plain chords in the piano.
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