Commissioned by John Reid with generous support from the RVW Trust.

Instrumentation: Piano solo
Duration: 10'
First Performance: 19 September 2010. John Reid (with Nicholas Mulroy, tenor).

perusal score

Lieder ohne Worte

I. Der Dichter, als Prolog
II. Mein?!
III. ...mein Herz ist zu voll

These three short piano pieces are reflections on Schubert's cycle. In their way, they are songs too: the first, a recitation; the second, port-a-beul (dancing nonsense rhymes); the third a long lyrical aria.

Der Dichter, als Prolog borrows its title from the first of Müller's Die schöne Müllerin poems (which Schubert chose not to set). Like Müller's text, it presents an external speaker introducing the world of the song cycle, the forest, the brook, and distant horn calls.

The second piece continues directly from the triumphant Mein!, the over-exuberant repetition of key phrases from this song perhaps suggesting that the miller's cry, "die geliebte Mullerin ist mein! ist mein!" is more a delusional demand than a celebratory acknowledgement.

In Pause, the tenor sings “Ich kann nicht mehr singen, mein Herz ist zu voll” (I can sing no more, my heart is too full). The third piano solo, which follows immediately, takes this line as its basis: the idea of a heart filling with song to the point of overflowing.

Lieder ohne Worte are dedicated with great affection to John Reid, and their commission was generously supported by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust.