"For me the sovereign principle in art is rigorous, harsh and inexorable truth, truth to the point of cruelty." — Hugo Wolf
In 1888, in a splendid outpouring of creativity, Austrian composer Hugo Wolf (1860–1903) composed 53 songs set to work of the German poet Eduard Mörike. The suddenness, spontaneity, and productiveness of this period in Wolf's life has been likened to similar songwriting outbursts by Schubert in 1814–15 and Schumann in 1840–41.
Although Wolf composed in other forms, his fame rests almost entirely on his songs. Highly original, intuitive, intensely dramatic, Wolf's musical interpretations perfectly matched Mörike's complex, quasi-symbolic style. In addition to a superb awareness of verbal rhythm and vocal inflections, Wolf also brought a delicacy of psychological insight to his compositions that made the song "a reincarnation of the poem in another medium."
The present volume contains all 53 of the Mörike songs, Wolf's complete treatment of the poet, reproduced from the 2nd revised Heckel edition. Stanley Appelbaum has provided new literal prose translations of the lyrics, as well as alphabetical lists of song titles and openings, and a glossary of German musical terms.
Songs include: Der Genesene an die Hoffnung; Im Frühling; Lebe wohl; Der Tambour; Auf ein altes Bild; Der Jäger; Fussreise; Charwoche; Der Feuerreiter; Verborgenheit; Neue Liebe; Gesang Weyla's; Elfenlied; Frage und Antwort; Auftrag; and 38 more.
Wolf's lieder rank at the very summit of the genre. As the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians notes: "He intensified the expressive vocabulary of the lied to a pitch never since surpassed. By his musical sensitivity to poetic values and meanings which he embodied in each separate aspect of the song … he was able, like Schubert before him, to condense the dramatic intensity of opera into the song form."
Lovers of lieder have long sought a convenient, comprehensive, inexpensive edition of all 53 Mörike songs. They will find it here, in a sturdily bound, clearly reproduced, permanent volume — a fitting tribute to Wolf's status as a supreme master of the art song.
Reprint of Gedichte von Eduard Mörike für eine Singstimmer und Klavier componirt (1888) von Hugo Wold, K. Ferd, Heckel, Mannheim, n.d.
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