Australian composer James Ledger

SCHUBERT Songs and Interludes
2007
15mins
baritone and strings
Premiere: 22 August 2007
Art Gallery of Western Australia,
Teddy Tahu Rhodes, baritone
WASO Chamber Players
John Harding – conductor
  • An die Musik. Poem by Franz von Schober
  • Interlude I after Der Tod und das Mädchen
  • Erlkönig. Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Interlude II after Du bist die Ruh
  • Die Taubenpost. Poem by Johann Gabriel Seidl
I was originally commissioned to make arrangements of three Schubert songs by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Up to that point my knowledge of these songs was admittedly, negligible. I soon realised that Schubert’s contribution to German Lied was as astonishing as it was prolific – over six hundred songs in a remarkably short life of thirty-one years.
Each of the three songs chosen for this arrangement are incredibly masterful in their execution:- An die Musik, with it’s playful and simple accompaniment that tells of being lost without music; Erlkönig, where driving triplet figures representing the frantic situation of a sick boy being carried by his father and all the while being taunted by the Erl King; and Die Taubenpost, a touching parable of a carrier pigeon as a metaphor for love’s longing. I felt that these songs needed to be presented in an honest fashion as possible and that ‘too much decoration on the cake’, would subtract from, not add to the true flavour of each song.
I did however, compose two short interludes that connect the three songs. These are purely instrumental pieces that serve two purposes. Firstly, they serve as bridges between the distant keys of the songs, and secondly they act as kind of resonating chambers, where the ghost of Schubert can be heard weaving in and out of my own very still textures.




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