Gerald Moore - The Schubert Song Cycles: With Thoughts on Performance

“This book”, writes Gerald Moore, “was written under compulsion, the compulsion of my love for Franz Peter Schubert. I find myself in the evening of my life turning more and more to the master whom Artur Schnabel described as the composer nearest to God.”

Most distinguished of living accompanists, Dr Moore has now set down his thoughts on how singer and pianist can, in what Richard Capell called “an understanding between friends”, convey the essence of Schubert’s art to the listener. Schubert’s great secret, says Dr Moore, was that he was able to speak to the heart. “No one ever expressed himself with such utter lack of artificiality; so spontaneous is his song that the process of transplantation from mind to manuscript without loss of freshness or bloom is miraculous.”

But how, in performance, to preserve this unique freshness, while missing none of Schubert’s depth or subtlety?”

Here, with a wealth of detail which every student and lover of Lieder will owe him lifelong gratitude, Gerald Moore examines each of the fifty-eight songs in the three Schubert song cycles, Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise (in the author’s opinion the greatest song cycle ever written) and Schwanengesang.

No one before has analysed these masterpieces so penetratingly and, above all, so practically. That Gerald Moore’s retirement from the concert platform has given him time to write this book will be some consolation to his innumerable admirers; for posterity, and in particular for future interpreters of Schubert’s Lieder, it will greatly extend his already legendary fame.

© Hamish Hamilton


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