Part of the Listen to This Audio Guide
"Schubert am Klavier" by Gustav Klimt.
The genius of the young Schubert blazes forth in "Erlkönig," or "The Erl King," written when he was just eighteen (p. 127):
Sarah Walker, mezzo-soprano, and Graham Johnson, piano; Hyperion CDJ33008.
Schubert made his breakthrough the previous year, setting "Gretchen am Spinnrade," from Goethe's Faust (p. 128). The spinning-wheel of the doomed girl is represented hauntingly in the piano at the outset ("My peace is gone, my heart is heavy"), while a wavelike motif represents her morbid passion at the climax ("I should die from his kisses"):
Marie McLaughlin, soprano, and Graham Johnson, piano; Hyperion CDJ33013.
Compare the darkly surging climax of the first movement of the "Unfinished" Symphony, which makes one think of the nexus of sex and death in Schubert's own life:
Günther Wand conducting the Berlin Philharmonic; RCA 659425.
A setting of Goethe's "Nachtgesang," from the same period as "Gretchen" (p. 128):
Adrian Thompson, tenor, and Graham Johnson, piano; Hyperion CDJ33012.
This handsome lad is said to be the teen-aged Schubert:
The "cuddly" Schubert of later years:
Strange harmonic rumblings in the Fantasie in G Minor, one of Schubert's earliest extant works (p. 129):
Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen, pianos; Sony Classical 68243.
The darkening emotional arc of "Auf der Donau," from idyll to disaster (p. 131):
Stephen Varcoe, baritone, and Graham Johnson, piano; Hyperion CDJ33002.
The Johann Mayrhofer setting "Auflösung," with its final rasp of "Go under, world" (p. 133):
Brigitte Fassbaender, soprano, and Graham Johnson, piano; Hyperion CDJ33011.
The lament figure, as described in Chapter 2, reappears at the beginning of Schubert's extraordinary String Quartet in G Major (p. 135). In this recording, by the great Busch Quartet, you hear the chromatic descent in the cello starting at 0:30 (where the musical example begins), with the quiet "shock" of an F-major chord at 0:35 (third bar):
The Busch Quartet, in a 1938 EMI recording remastered by Andrew Rose and released by Pristine Audio.
"Gute Nacht," from Winterreise (p. 136), whose first stanza could be translated as follows: "I came here as a stranger, / A stranger I go out. / The month of May did favor me / With flowers strewn all about. / The girl she spoke of loving me, / Her mother, of a wedding day; / But now the world is full of gloom, / And snow has hidden the way."
Mark Padmore, tenor, and Paul Lewis, piano; Harmonia Mundi CD.
A film adaptation of Winterreise, with the tenor Ian Bostridge (first of twenty-four parts):
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings "Der Doppelgänger," perhaps the darkest of all Schubert songs (p. 136):
The opening of the Sonata in B-flat Major, with a trill rumbling in the bass at 0:20 (pp. 136-37):
Richard Goode, piano; Nonesuch 79124.
The "stamping" figure in the finale of the Ninth Symphony (p. 137):
Charles Mackerras conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Telarc 80502.
For comparison, here are the stamping sonorities that accompany Don Giovanni's descent to hell:
Eberhard Wächter, Gottlob Frick, and Carlo Maria Giuini conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra; EMI67873.