Schubert's Goethe Settings

The traditional approach to the study of Goethe and Schubert is to place them in opposition to one another, both in terms of their life experiences and in relation to the nineteenth-century Lied. In her introduction to this book, Lorraine Byrne examines the myths that have evolved around these artists and challenges the view that Goethe was unmusical and conservative in his musical tastes. She also considers Schubert's life in relation to his obvious affinity with the poet and links the composer's Goethe settings with the poet's perception of the Lied. Goethe judged the success of a setting by whether the meaning of the text had been realised in musical form. In his Goethe settings Schubert translates the poet's meaning into musical terms and his rendition attains the classical unity of words and music that Goethe sought. The core of this volume is the series of individual analyses of all of Schubert's solo, dramatic and multi-voice settings of Goethe texts. These explore in detail both the literary and the musical dimensions of each work, and Schubert's reading and interpretation of Goethe's writings. This is the first study in English to treat both artists with equal attention and insight. This, together with its encyclopaedic coverage of this important corpus of works, makes this volume an essential reference tool for all those who study Schubert and Goethe.