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The Shepherd on the Rock

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Wikipedia article

"'The Shepherd on the Rock'" , D. 965, is a Lied for soprano, clarinet, and piano by Franz Schubert. It was composed in 1828 during the final months of his life.


Of the seven verses, the first four and the last came from the poetry of Wilhelm Mller, while verses five and six were written by Helmina von Chzy or possibly Karl August Varnhagen von Ense.T. G. Waidelich: "Der letzte Hauch im Lied entflieht, im Lied das Herz entweicht! Varnhagens 'Nchtlicher Schall' als letzter Baustein zum 'Hirt auf dem Felsen'." In: 'Schubert: Perspektiven' 8 (2010), p. 237243.


The Lied was written as a belated response to a request from the operatic soprano Pauline Anna Milder-Hauptmann, a friend of Schubert. She had requested a showpiece that would allow her to express a wide range of feelings, and he wrote it as thanks for her attempts to stage one of his operas in Berlin. She received a copy of the score from Schubert's brother Ferdinand in September 1829, and the work was published a year and a half after Schubert's death. Milder sang it for the first time at the House of the Blackheads in Riga on 10 February 1830."Anna Milder-Hauptmann and 'Der Hirt auf dem Felsen'". In: 'Schubert 200', Heidelberg 1997, pp. 165167.


The Lied has three sections, with clarinet and voice equally challenged. The first is warm, as the lonely shepherd on the mountaintop listens to echoes rising from below. The second section grows dark as he expresses grief and loneliness. The short last section anticipates the coming of spring and, with it, rebirth.

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*Andreas Mayer: [https://www.jstor.org/stable/930894 "'Gluck'sches Gesthn' and 'welsches Larifari': Anna Milder, Franz Schubert und der deutsch-italienische Opernkrieg"], in 'Archiv fr Musikwissenschaft' LII (1995),

* C. Ahrens: "Schuberts 'Der Hirt auf dem Felsen' D. 965 Lied, Arie oder 'Duett'?" In: 'Schubert: Perspektiven' 5 (2005), pp. 162182.

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