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Schubert’s Kriegers Ahnung
During the Romantic Era, composers were concerned with very pastoral matters and used many rustic poems to complements their lieder, or songs. Franz Schubert was one of those composers. His “Schwanengesang”, or “ Swan Song” was a posthumous collection of music dealing with a man who is in a distant land and is away from his beloved. Schwanengesang is a testament to Romantic Music in that the text’s setting is in a far away land, the character is longing for his beloved, and the far away land is in a rustic setting. This paper will focus mainly on the 2nd lied, Kriegers Ahnung. The description of the text along with its relationship to the music, its harmonic analysis and form of the lied will show how Kriegers Ahnung is a Romantic musical work.
Before going in harmonic analysis of this lied, a little bit of background information is necessary in order to understand why and how this music came about. During the late 18th century-early 19th century, a certain genre had become popular, known as the lied. Germans were writing lieder for piano and one voice, which was a staple of the Romantic Era since there was a rise in the middle class and pianos were more readily available to the public. Germans were very concerned with classical and folk traditions, hence why most of the lieder’s settings are in distant pastoral lands, pitting man against nature or serious human feelings, like hope, desire, or fear. Kriegers Ahnung, a poem by Ludwig Rellstab, is a prime example.
In Kriegers Ahnung, a soldier is talking about how much he longs for his beloved; for he is at war in an undisclosed area, lying amongst his comrades. He speaks of how he is so anxious from missing her and dreams of how much he wants to lay in her arms. The Romantic theme of nature versus man can be seen here, where the soldier is convincing his heart to stay strong while in some distant land, away from his beloved.
Harmonically speaking, Schubert is definitely...