Here’s a classic for anyone who is a fan of Schubert’s Lieder, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, or studied German at some point. Perhaps the most famous of the Lieder, it is Goethe’s chilling tale of a late night ride, Der Erlkonig. There’s a lot of wonderful storytelling in the composition—the hoofbeats given in the piano accompaniment, the different ranges of the different characters—and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau does a very good job of conveying the different emotions. I included the version which has the english subtitles, so that if you don’t speak German, you can still see what’s going on and appreciate Schubert’s storytelling.

I noticed that I had only posted Lieder from Schubert thus far. Though these are certainly memorable works, Schubert was nevertheless quite adept as an orchestrator. Here we have one of his masterpieces which fall into this category; the famous Unfinished Symphony, and in particular the first movement. Had Schubert lived longer, perhaps he might have finished it, but why it is only two movements instead of the typical 4 is unknown. Still, these two movements are enough to put this work toward the top of the list of best romantic era symphonies, unfinished though the work may be.

We have here the second part of the first movement of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

We have here an interesting Lieder from Schubert; it is his The Mountain Shepherd, based on words by Wilhelm Müller. It’s interesting for a couple of reasons; it’s a little bit longer than a lot of his other Lieder, and it also features a clarinet. A very pleasant piece to listen to.

This is the second part of Schubert’s Lied for clarinet, voice and piano, The Mountain Shepherd, or Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.

Here we have one of Schubert’s Lieder, Gretchen am Spinnrade, taken from Goethe’s Faust. in this scene, Gretchen is spinning at her wheel, as the name suggests, and the accompaniment in the piano mimics that spinning. The lyrics speak of Gretchen’s longing for Faust; the genius of Goethe is matched by the genius of Schubert, with this small piece expressing the full emotion and anxiety which Gretchen feels at this moment in the play. The piece entices the listener, just as Gretchen is enticed in Faust.

Here is one of Schubert’s Lieder; Rastlose Liebe, which means “Restless Love” in German. Quite short, but also quite compelling. There’s something quite interesting about it— Schubert makes very good use of the minute and a half it takes to play this piece.