La Scena Musicale

Monday, 20 July 2015

Next Great Art Song - Alexander Martin's Favourite Art Song

Our newest submission for the Next Great Art Song survey is by music theorist Alexander Martin. Share your choices at!

1. Auf einer Burg –Robert Schumann

I might have chosen any of the songs from the Eichendorff Liederkreis Op. 39, but the one I keep coming back to is "Auf einer Burg." Schumann's stile antico setting (hints at Phrygian mode) and ponderous, oftentimes aimless harmonies perfectly captures the timelessness of the poem's fragmentary world filled with ancient knights and weddings on the Rhine. Perhaps my favourite image in all of Lieder is of the birds of the woods singing -- lonely -- in the empty window arches of the ruins. Is there anything more Romantic than this cycle, and this song in particular?

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