Schwanengesang (The Swan)

By Franz Schubert

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"Schubert's last songs look death in the face...the settings in this song-cycle of poems by Rellstab, Heine and Seidl were written in the year of Schubert's death, and published posthumously under the title 'Swansong,' so it is appropriate that they should be so obsessively concerned with death, exile, yearning, loss, the passage of time, the evanescence of humanity in the face of undying nature. These are songs in a minor key, as simple and pared back and immense as a Beckett drama, all pretence and flourish abandoned in the face of final truths. Even seemingly jaunty tunes, such as 'Farewell' or 'The Fishermaiden', have a melancholy undertow. The Heine settings especially have a Gothic feel, with their narratives about wanderers, dead lovers, abandoned houses, infernal sufferers and doubles, as in the clanging doom of 'the Doppelganger.'" --Darragh O'Donoghue

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