Der Hirt auf dem Felsen D.965

Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
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Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)

Performance date: 03/07/2014

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1828

Duration: 00:12:31

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE

Instrumentation Category:Trio

Instrumentation Other: s-solo, cl, pf

Artists: Ailish Tynan - [soprano]
Julian Bliss - [clarinet]
Joseph Middleton - [piano]

In the summer of
1825 Schubert had the luxury of an extended five-month holiday high in the
Austrian Alps. This trip resonated in his music for the rest of his short life.
Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on
the Rock)
was one of his very last works – it is dated October 1828, the
month before he died – and it is touching that he used the opportunity to
recall the mountains that he loved so much. The echo between clarinet and
soprano of the opening stanza is used to bewitching effect, exploiting the
fancy that music can reach a loved one far away. The undulating clarinet melody
is taken up by the voice and then the echoes begin, sometimes literally,
sometimes deliciously varied. Each of the three stanzas is taken from a
different source and much has been read into the new wanderings of the final
verse, but this is as likely to refer to Schubert’s exquisite experiment with
the clarinet as to his last and final journey, which was so close. Jennifer
Johnston’s novel The Gingerbread Woman
uses the song as a talisman of hope throughout her story, the echoes of youth
and joyous optimism pointing the way forward for two people who played the game
of love and lost, like Schubert himself.