– Schubert: The Lyre Man

During our MaGMa Trio concert “Winter Silence” on 26 January 2020 in the church of Dochamps, you could hear our performance of “Der Leiermann” (The Lyre man) from the lieder cycle “Winterreise” (Winter Journey) by Franz Schubert (1797-1828). This cycle consists of 24 songs on the texts of Wilhelm Müller (1794 -1827). It has a somber atmosphere and it is supposed to have been caused by the fact that neither Wilhelm nor Franz have really been happy during their lives. The first committed suicide, Schubert suffered of syphilis for many years and died after a fierce death struggle.

In 24 poems, put to music by Franz Schubert, an unknown young man tries to get over his lost love during a lonely, cold journey. “He roams along white fields and dead flowers with his tears frozen, walking over hard ice crusts that sparkle dangerous streams and through deep gorges – a fascinating journey strewn with wandering lights, crowing roosters, shrieking ravens, growling dogs and rattling chains”.

The Lyre Man is the last song of the cycle. It is thought that this musician impersonates Death itself.

I’d like to give you the English translation:

Just beyond the village
stands a hurdy-gurdy man,
and with numb fingers
he plays as best he can.

Barefoot on the ice
he totters to and fro,
and his little plate
has no reward to show.

No-one wants to listen,
no-one takes a scan,
and the dogs all growl
around the aged man.

And he lets it happen,
as it always will,
grinds his hurdy-gurdy;
it is never still.

Curious old fellow,
shall I go with you?
When I sing my songs,
will you play your hurdy-gurdy too?

We hope you will once again enjoy the video that Eric has made.

Enjoy the week!


PS: this website will cease to exist on 30 March. Our YouTube videos will remain available on Erics channel.

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