German Song Literature


Historical Event

Meistersingers replace Minnesingers

1300 - 1400

predominant solo vocal style (that of the Meistersinger)


1517 - 1518

30 Years War

1618 - 1648

-Protestants vs. Catholics
-lots of carnage - left society destroyed
Society had to be totally restructured --> rise of the Merchant class (who would later support composers)

1st Berlin School

1740 - 1760

-included Christian Gellert who in 1758 wrote Geistlich Oden und Lieder (religious texts which CPE Bach and Beethoven both set)

German Romanticism

1770 - 1850

tension between everyday world and supernatural/irrational/emotion took shape in music

2nd Berlin School

1780 - 1800

Composers such as Rechrdt and Zelter and poet Goethe

Germany becomes a Country

1871 - 1872



1732 - 1809

-Great Instrumental composer ( as a vocal composers, he was so-so)

-1780s composed 24 German lied (Text by Weisse)
-set religious texts (Geistliches Lied) and English consonettas


1756 - 1791

-Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte (K. 520)
- Text by Gabriele von Baumberg (1768 - 1839)

-Abendempfindung (K. 523)

-An Chloë (K. 524)

-Eine kleine deutsche Kantate (K. 619)
--German, masonic cantata
--Text by Franz Heinrich Ziegenhagen (1753 - 1806)


1770 - 1827

-Adelaide, op.46 (Matthisson (1761 - 1831))
--Same text later set by Schubert

-Sechs Lieder nach Gedichten von Gellert (Gellert)
--Gellert the 1st Berlin School poet
--Same text was set by C.P.E. Bach

-Der Liebende, WoO. 139 (Reissig (1783 - 1822

-The Song of the Flea, Aus Goethe's Faust, op. 75 no. 3 (Goethe)

-Wonne der Wehmut, op. 83 (Goethe)

-An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), op. 98 (Alois Jeitteles)
--Dedicated to Antonie v. Bretano - thought to be Beethoven's Immortal Beloved
--Jeitteles created this poem with cyclic poetic themes and intriguing metric alterations, yet yielding a coherent song cycle

-first Romantic Song cycle (harmonically)
--First cyclic cycle (that pulls from other pieces in the cycle)
--Unique to this song cycle - the pianist never stops playing

-Completely deft

-Resignation, WoO. 149, G. 252 (Haugwitz)

C.M. von Weber

1786 - 1826

German Romantic composer
Der Freischütz established his popularity
-Die Zeit (Stoll (1778-1815))
--Tenor & guitar

-Lass mich schlummern, Herzlein, schweige
-Soprano & guitar

-Leyer und Schwert, op. 41-43 (Kӧrner)
--published in 3 volumes/hefts

-Die vier Temperamente bei dem Verlust der Geliebten (Gubitz)
--the first song cycle


1797 - 1828

1808 joined Stadt Konvikt (City College)
-Student of Salieri

1812 (age 15)
-D. 23 Klaglied (Rochlitz)
--Text of Goethe from Faust
--Pastische of Gretchen's monologue

-D. 77 Der Taucher

-Studying to be teacher

-D. 95 Adelaîda (Matthisson)
--Poet of Beethoven's song of Adelaide, op.46

-9th of October, 1814 - the day in which Schubert composed Gretchen am Spinnrade (Goethe)

-'Szene aus Faust' (Goethe)

-Now, very much against his will, he is a school teacher
-wrote more than 115 lieder and instrumental works during this year

-D. 171 Gebet während der Schlaucht - prayer during the battle (Kӧrner)
--Text also set by Weber around the same time (1814)

-D. 491 Geheimnis (Mayrhofer)
--Mayrhofer had heard about the genius of Schubert and dedicated it to Schubert (and called it 'Secret')
--Schubert then sets the text to music to say thank you to the poet.

-Spaun, Schubert's roommate and friend, introduces Schubert to the most important musical influences in his life, baritone, Johann Michael Vogl.
-Der Tod und das Mädchen (Claudius (1740 - 1815))
--This song was so GREATLY popular that Schubert wrote a companion piece Death of the young Boy
--Inspired several other theme and variation pieces.1817

-Memnon, op. 6 (Drei Lieder) no. 1, D. 541 (Mayrhofer)

-Ganymed, op. 19 (Drei Lieder) no. 3, D. 544 (Goethe)
-Erlafsee, op. 8 (Vier Lieder) no. 3, D. 586 (Mayrhofer)

-Abendbilder, D. 650 (Johann Peter Silbert)

-Der Jüngling an der Quelle (Salis-Seewis)
--Attributed as D. 300 but likely composed later

-Die Liebe hat gelogen, op. 23 (Vier Lieder) no. 1, D. 751 (Platen-Hallermünde)
-Schubert was diagnosed with Syphilis

-D. 827 --Nacht und Träume (Zwei Lieder) no. 2, D. 827 (Collin)
-Die schöne Müllerin (Wilhelm Müller), op. 25, D. 795
-Wilhelm Müller Die Schöne Müllerin
--Müller wrote these to be a Spiel Poem Cycle (meant to be read by and acted out in parties)

-D. 807 --Auflӧsung (Mayrhofer)
-D. 857 --2 Songs from 'Lacrimas'

-D. 853 --Auf der Bruck (Schulze)
-D. 861 --Der lieblich Sterne (Schulze)
--All of the Schulze works come from one collected set of poetry call Auf den wilden Wegen

-2 Shakespeare settings
--An Silvia & Trinklied

-3 songs for bass (Metastasio)
-Winterreise (Wilhelm Müller) , op. 89, D. 911

-Der … Abend
-Die Talbensamt --does not belong to Schrannen gesampt
§ Has it's own D. number

-Schwanengesang (Swansong) , D. 957
--A composition of the 14 songs left on Schubert's desk when he died (rather ubruptly)
--It was published together as a cycle --it is not
--It has 6 Heine settings, 7 Rellstab settings and 1 ???
-Perhaps all the Heine piece, inverted to be in the order that Heine published the, could be considered a song cycle.