Saturday, October 30, 2010

Franz Schubert's Der Doppelgänger

The narrator of Der Doppelgänger (text by Heinrich Heine) has a dark past he's dealing with and comes face to face with it in one of Schubert's darkest songs. He's not over his girlfriend yet, and even after she's moved away, he still stalks her former residence. To make matters worse, he comes face to face with the specter of his former self, also stalking his girlfriend's residence at the height of anguish. Face to face with the enormity of how far he has fallen, the ending of the song could not be more ambiguous. Is this a scene that he has repeated before? Or is the tonic major that ends the song a return of hope that might help him move on?

Jan Martiník's performance at Cardiff in 2009 (with Alexandr Starý on piano) is a brilliant reading of this dark and complex psychological portrait, one of Schubert's last.

You can find the English translation of Der Doppelgänger here.

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