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Der Hirt auf dem Felsen D.965

Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)

Julian Bliss

Julian Bliss

Composer
Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Composition Year
1828
Artists
Ailish Tynan [soprano], Julian Bliss [clarinet], Joseph Middleton [piano]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

In the summer of 1825 Schubert had the luxury of an extended five-month holiday high in the Austrian Alps. This trip resonated in his music for the rest of his short life. Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) was one of his very last works – it is dated October 1828, the month before he died – and it is touching that he used the opportunity to recall the mountains that he loved so much. The echo between clarinet and soprano of the opening stanza is used to bewitching effect, exploiting the fancy that music can reach a loved one far away. The undulating clarinet melody is taken up by the voice and then the echoes begin, sometimes literally, sometimes deliciously varied. Each of the three stanzas is taken from a different source and much has been read into the new wanderings of the final verse, but this is as likely to refer to Schubert's exquisite experiment with the clarinet as to his last and final journey, which was so close. Jennifer Johnston's novel The Gingerbread Woman uses the song as a talisman of hope throughout her story, the echoes of youth and joyous optimism pointing the way forward for two people who played the game of love and lost, like Schubert himself. 

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Der Hirt auf dem Felsen D.965

Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Performance date: Thursday 3rd July 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Work Title Der Hirt auf dem Felsen D.965
Composition Year 1828
Artist(s) Ailish Tynan [soprano], Julian Bliss [clarinet], Joseph Middleton [piano]
Performance Date Thursday 3rd July 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Main Evening Concert
Duration 00:12:31
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Trio
Instrumentation s-solo, cl, pf
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

In the summer of 1825 Schubert had the luxury of an extended five-month holiday high in the Austrian Alps. This trip resonated in his music for the rest of his short life. Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) was one of his very last works – it is dated October 1828, the month before he died – and it is touching that he used the opportunity to recall the mountains that he loved so much. The echo between clarinet and soprano of the opening stanza is used to bewitching effect, exploiting the fancy that music can reach a loved one far away. The undulating clarinet melody is taken up by the voice and then the echoes begin, sometimes literally, sometimes deliciously varied. Each of the three stanzas is taken from a different source and much has been read into the new wanderings of the final verse, but this is as likely to refer to Schubert's exquisite experiment with the clarinet as to his last and final journey, which was so close. Jennifer Johnston's novel The Gingerbread Woman uses the song as a talisman of hope throughout her story, the echoes of youth and joyous optimism pointing the way forward for two people who played the game of love and lost, like Schubert himself.