Archive for Franz Schubert

Der Doppelgänger

Posted in Mental Health, Music with tags , , on July 12, 2017 by telescoper

Writing yesterday about depersonalisation for some reason brought this song by Franz Schubert to mind. I heard it on the radio recently and found it profoundly moving. Der Doppelgänger is a setting of a poem by Heinrich Heine that Schubert composed in 1828 near the end of his life; it was published posthumously in 1929 as part of Schwanengesang.t’s relevance to the topic of depersonalisation lies in the middle verse, in which the poet describes seeing a tormented figure only to realise that the figure is he (the last line says `The Moon shows me my own form’):

Da steht auch ein Mensch und starrt in die Höhe,
Und ringt die Hände, vor Schmerzensgewalt;
Mir graust es, wenn ich sein Antlitz sehe –
Der Mond zeigt mir meine eigne Gestalt.

It’s a very bleak piece, its desolate atmosphere underlined by the inexorable piano accompaniment which consists mostly of block chords. I think you can tell that this is written by a man who knows his days are numbered, but the simplicity and beauty of the composition and pervading sense of loneliness and desolation mark it as a work of genius, which Schubert undoubtedly was.

The singer is the late great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.


Horowitz plays Schubert

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 9, 2016 by telescoper

This was doing the rounds on Facebook earlier this summer and I meant to post it on here, but forgot. Anyway, better late than never.  This is the great Vladimir Horowitz playing the Impromptu No. 3  in G flat major D899  by Franz Schubert. It’s a stunning performance to watch as well as listen to, despite – or maybe because of – the fact that he was an old man at the time and this was to be his last concert in Vienna. I love the way he takes his time to settle at the start, and then all of a sudden, his hands apparently almost still, he starts to caress the keyboard with his fingers and this beautiful music comes to life, almost as if it’s coming directly from another world. Take a few minutes off, and let some beauty into your heart..



Talking about Winterreise

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 18, 2012 by telescoper

Well, here’s a find! A fascinating bit of film featuring Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears discussing and performing Franz Schubert‘s great song cycle, Winterreise.

R.I.P Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Posted in Music with tags , , , on May 19, 2012 by telescoper

I was very sad to hear, first thing this morning, of the death at the age of 86 of legendary singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I can’t add anything to the host of tributes that have already appeared, except to say that his voice will always be very special to me because his recording of Schubert’s Winterreise (with Gerald Moore on piano) was the first I ever heard of any Schubert Lieder.

Instead of trying to write an appreciation which couldn’t possibly to justice to the man and his musical legacy, I’ll just post this video and let it speak for itself. This is Winterreise in its entirety, performed in 1979 by Fischer-Dieskau with Alfred Brendel on piano.

Rest in peace, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012).

Im Frühling

Posted in Music with tags , , on March 25, 2012 by telescoper

We’re enjoying a spell of perfect weather at the moment, so I’m going to be out most of the afternoon enjoying the flowers and trees in Bute Park. I assume  I’m not in danger of being run over by a lorry speeding along the paths, since I don’t think they work on Sundays. Anyway, BBC Radio 3 is devoting the period until the end of March to a “Spirit of Schubert” festival, so I thought I’d join in by posting an appropriately seasonal ditty. This is Im Frühling (D. 882) (“In Spring”), sung by Peter Pears with piano accompaniment by Benjamin Britten way back in 1950. Gives me a lovely glow inside listening to this. I hope you feel the same..