Today's entry features my first foray into Schubert, a good time to re-emphasize that my goal here is somewhat different than what Liszt had in mind when he turned Schubert songs into piano pieces. My performances are less new creations than they are realizations of the piano-vocal scores as piano solos. With this presentation of Schubert's Nacht und Träume, I'll make the scandalous revelation that I did not consider the original text at all - this ravishing music may have been inspired by verbal poetry, but it stands on its own as musical poetry. In fact, I'll make the even more embarrassing admission that, for years, I loved Schubert's setting of Der Erlkönig with little more than passing concern for its dramatic story. Of course, that song is even more remarkable when understood as musical drama, but it's hardly surprising that Goethe was skeptical about how Schubert had served his poetry - the music is so captivating that one can easily not care about the artistry of the words. And, no, I'm not going to be posting Erlkönig as a "song without singer" any time soon; I'd need to contact my HMO first, and many pianists have already recorded the Liszt version (easier than Schubert's accompaniment!) anyway.
So, here is Nacht und Träume, unadorned by vocalizing. It's also now part of the MMmusic jukebox over in the margin.
[P.S. Somehow I managed to avoid the obligatory superlative in describing this song; let's rectify that by noting that it is probably my favorite of all Schubert songs (of which there are more than a few) and mentioning that it features the most heartstoppingly perfect modulation in the history of humankind. I don't care what Greg Sandow says, to bask in that modulation is to experience art at the deepest and most meaningful of levels, even though I have no idea of what that experience means, and I don't really care what it might reflect about German Romantic poetry or life in the early 19th century or nights or dreams or Schubert's inner life or romantic relationships or key relationships or modulating techniques or whatever. It's just awesome.]