Dear friends and members of the Schubert Society,
When looking at the 600+ Schubert Lieder, it is intriguing to consider the role that the text and the poet played in inspiring the composer. Much has been made of Schubert’s interest in Goethe and to be sure that relationship has granted us some of the greatest of his “Lieder”. Schubert’s use of texts by friends and acquaintances also seems rather straightforward. However, Schubert’s motivation to consider other texts and poets seems less clear. In some cases, the interest appears restricted to a few years – we find a concentration of songs by Novalis in 1819, for example. This suggests a number of things, perhaps, not least intellectual curiosity which moves on from one writer to the next.
Our next two Schubertiades are dedicated to looking at Schubert’s poets: On July 31 2011 we will features romantic songs of nature and character by Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel. Novalis – the pseudonym for the German poet Friedrich von Hardenberg - was a cult - figure of the romantic movement seizing German speaking Europe at the turn of the century. Born in 1772 Novalis lived only to the tender age of 29 but was nevertheless a prolific writer of poetry, philosophy and science. He was significantly influenced by Plato, mysticism and also the post - Enlightenment philosopher Fichte.
Together with his contemporary, Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis became a seminal figure of the romantic movement which challenged the intellectual establishment of the enlightenment and its classical and rationalistic traditions rehabilitating attitudes of feeling and yearning. Their often fragmentary writings inspired musicians, writers and philosopher in the 19th century and beyond with their unique creation of a rhapsodic reflection and a holistic philosophy inspired by nature and mystery.
It is fitting to introduce Schubert songs by Novalis and Schlegel to you in our Schubertiade 346 on July 31 (2.45 pm) at St Peters Presbyterian Church, North Sydney with one of Schubert’s late and most evocative chamber music works, the Piano Trio in Eflat major D 929. The Schubertiade will feature soprano Erika Simons who will perform these beautiful songs together with pianist Jeanell Carrigan. Minah Choe, the brilliant cellist we heard last May will join us again for the performance of the piano trio.
I look forward to seeing you on July 31 at St Peters for an exploration of the voices of romanticism,
With warm wishes and best regards,
President, Sydney Schubert Society, Inc.