The year saw Franz Schubert set more than 70 poems, resulting in some of his very finest songs. Of these, it may be Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ‘s Ganymed that drew from him the deepest musical response.
Though Schubert ‘s attempt in to interest Goethe in his music had resulted in a snub from the venerated poet, he continued to use his verses as the bases for lieder. Schubert also dedicated his Op. Ganymed was the fabled Trojan youth who, called by Zeus, was carried up into Olympus to become the gods’ immortal cup-bearer.
Goethe’s treatment of the legend avoids references to anything specifically Greek, instead focusing on the beautiful comfort of nature and the love of — and for — the divine.
Schubert ‘s setting is marked Etwas langsam rather slow and falls into several broad sections, each characterized by distinctive accompanimental figuration in the piano that captures something of the unfolding poem’s essence. The calm stillness of the morning saturates the opening; the singer softly intrudes on the poised, delicate seven-measure piano introduction, transforming the accompaniment into a repeating background figure that only moves forth into new territory as the poem goes on to tell of the “thousand-fold delights of love.
The composer’s love of striking chromatic modulations is apparent throughout, as in the serene A flat major opening that moves into the rich land of C flat major to “languish” within a field of flowers.
E major emerges from within the piano’s rolling gestures “you quench my burning thirst” ; then, as the real action of the story begins to unfold and Ganymed begins his ascension, Schubert provides some bouncing eighth notes that gradually spin their way into F major and proceed sequentially within this final tonality.
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Ganymed (“Wie im Morgenglanze”), song for voice & piano, D. 544 (Op. 19/3)
Schubert Songs and Duets. Songs of Schubert, Vol. The Complete Recitals on Warner Classics. Elly Ameling Sings Schubert. The Complete Decca Recordings.
Ganymed, D.544 (Schubert, Franz)
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf – Perfect Prima Donna. Peter Anders singt Arien und Lieder. Kathleen Ferrier [Box Set].
The Art of Christa Ludwig. Franz Schubert Lieder Collection. On Wings of Song. The Collector’s Edition [Box Set].
Ganymed (Goethe) – Wikipedia
Lieder von Franz Schubert. Songs from the Spanisches Liederbuch. Nicolai Gedda Sings Franz Schubert. Art of the Romantic Song. Peter Anders in Berlin, Vol. Recital Covent Garden Lieder of Brahms, Schubert, Schumann. Die Forelle and Other Lieder.
Lieder on Record, Vol. Lieder nach Gedichten von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Felicity Lott Sings Schubert. Franz Schubert Goethe Lieder. Kathleen Ferrier sings Schumann, Brahms, Schubert.
Les Introuvables de Christa Ludwig. The Complete Songs, Vol. Cheryl Studer in Salzburg. On This Island; Morike Lieder. The Man at the Piano, CDs Le Chant du Monde. Gamymede Music Classics and Jazz.
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