Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems
Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems

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Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems

4 The songs

4.1 A note on the translations and scores

The German text and a parallel English translation of each of the songs we shall study in this course will be available as attached pdf documents. The styles of translation vary, depending on the style of the original poem. For poems without a regular metre and without a rhyming-scheme, a literal translation of the German is given so that you can follow the original word by word. For poems with regular metre and a strong rhyming-scheme, the translation follows the rhythm and rhyming as closely as possible, in an attempt to convey the impact of the original poem. Inevitably, there are some minor freedoms in these translations. The ‘strict’ translations are ‘The Harper's Songs I’, ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Ganymede’. Freer versions are ‘Wild Rose’, ‘Wanderer's Night Song II’, ‘Gretchen at the Spinning-Wheel’ and ‘The Erl-king’.

At the end of ‘Gretchen’ and ‘Ganymede’, Schubert repeats some of Goethe's lines. In ‘Gretchen’ these are indicated in brackets. In ‘Ganymede’, where the repetition is straightforward, the lines are not repeated in the printed text.

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