Originally published in 1987, this volume charts the development of German song across a century and a half, relating it both to poetry and to the cultural scene in Germany. By emphasising genre rather than individual composers and while paying heed to acknowledged masterpieces – by quoting extensively from forgotten composers, the book avoids historical over simplification and arrives at a fuller picture of this rich tradition. In so doing, it uncovers much neglected material. The book investigates the relationship between German poets and composers and their native folk tradition. It further explores the interaction between convention and innovation and demonstrates how one poem can be interpreted quite differently by different composers. The book is accessible both to students of literature and music.
Table of Contents
1. The Beginnings: 1740-80 2. ‘Im Volkston’ 3. Switzerland and Austria 4. Song-Texts in the Latter Part of the Eighteenth Century 5. Composers and Performers 6. Simplicity as an ideal 7. The New Adventurousness in the Late Eighteenth Century 8. The Eighteenth Century – A Summing Up 9. From the turn of the Century to Schumann, Mendelssohn and Franz 10. The Development Towards Great Complexity 11. Theories of Song and the Ideal of ‘Hausmusik’ 12. The Importance of Folksong 13. A General Assessment 14. Paths into the Twentieth Century
J. W. Smeed was Reader in German at the University of Durham, U.K.