06 Oct
Thu / 2011

The Gilded Dish: A Rienzi Blog

On Sunday, October 16, Early Music Southwest, an international collaboration of baroque musicians, will open their Rienzi recital series with Schubertiade.” This performance will highlight the Austrian composer Franz Schubert’s famous song cycle Die schöne Müllerin. Die schöne Müllerin is based on Shöne Müllerin, a lyric sequence written by one of Schubert’s contemporaries, the German poet Wilhlem Müller.

In 1820, the 23 poems that form Shöne Müllerin were published in Müller’s Sixty-Seven Poems from the Papers Left Behind by a Travelling Hunting-Horn Player; Schubert composed his famous song cycle soon after it was printed, between May and September of 1823. The lovely maid of the mill, a song cycle to poems by Wilhelm Müller, as the full title translates, was finally published in 1824. It consists of 20 songs and is meant to be performed by a pianist and singer (at Rienzi’s recital it will be fortepianist Christina Edelen and tenor Tony Boutté).

The 20 songs in the cycle tell the story of a young man who makes his way through the countryside and falls in love with the daughter of a milliner. He fails to woo her and in despair over his unrequited love, drowns himself in a brook. Thomas Archer notes in an article on the series that “the little drama has its rising and its falling action, its exposition, its climax and its catastrophe.”

Die schöne Müllerin is an important work; it is considered to be one of the most prolific pieces written by Schubert in his brief lifetime (1797–1828). According to John Reed, it has been calculated that more than 40 composers have set Müller’s verses to music, but Schubert’s is the only one that has withstood the test of time.   

Join us on Sunday, October 16, to hear Christina Edelen and Tony Boutté perform Die schöne Müllerin during their recital “Schubertiade.” Tickets can be purchased online or by calling us on the phone 713.639.7800.