Die Schöne Müllerin Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)
(“The Pretty Miller-Maid”)
When the Austrian composer Franz Schubert wrote this song cycle he was chronically ill, frustrated in love, and knew he would soon be dead. He was fascinated, however, by Goethe's belief that experiencing the beauty of nature would purify his soul. This cycle of 20 songs is drawn from a long narrative poem by Schubert’s German contemporary Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827). We will present it in two episodes, beginning with Songs 1-12.
In the story, an eager young miller has just completed his apprenticeship and sets off to find new work (“Wandering”). The water’s lively sound, which flows and burbles in the piano part through most of the songs, urges the youth to follow the stream (“Where To?”). He comes to a mill (“Halt!”) and is hired by its owner, who has pretty daughter. The young man falls in love at first sight. He works hard to impress them (“After the Day’s Work”). He sings to the brook, but not to her, of flowers, stars and dewdrops. She sits trustingly with him by the brook (“Rain of Tears”). He imagines she shares his love (“Mine!”). Unable to tell her how he feels, he hangs his lute on the wall. Untouched, its strings vibrate quetly in the air (“Pause”).
These are today’s song titles, as translated by Michèle Lester.
2. Where to?
4. Thanks to the Brook
5. After the Day’s Work
8. Morning Greeting
9. The Miller's Flowers
10. Rain of Tears
In Episode 25 we will present songs 13-20.