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"Winterreise with Photos"
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Foto-Liederabend*

Winterreise D911

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827) (Text)

Winterreise: Part I
Winterreise: Part 2

Tomoko Yamamoto
(Soprano and Photography)

Piano To be Announced

German Overtitle shown above the background photo for each song on the screen



Dessau, Germany along the River Mulde. What are shown in this photo are restored buildings of the Johannbau, the Marienkirche, the red roof, and the Rathaus, only its tower shows by the tower of the church)

Dessau, Germany where Wilhelm Müller was born, © 2015 Tomoko Yamamoto
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein in the middle of the Rhine seen from Kaub, Germany, copyright 2016 Tomoko Yamamoto

Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, © 2016 Tomoko Yamamoto, the midway point of the Rhine crossing around January 1, 1813 during the War of Liberation

Spenden means to donate. If you find this project interesting to follow, please donate any small amount to the cause of its development. I will get the money from Paypal.

Program







Wilhelm Müller wrote and published "Winterreise" in multiple steps.
The first twelve poems, which became the twelve songs in Part I in Schubert's song cycle,
"Winterreise," was published in "Urania" by the publisher, Brockhaus in 1821. There was another publication of "Winterreise"
before all the 24 poems Winterreise were published together in "Die Lyricksammlung" called "Siebenundsiebzig Gedichte aus den
hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten" in 1824. "Die Winterreise" is in the volume 2 of this collection and was
published in 1824. The question is what motivated him to write these poems and whether or not these poems were autobiographical.

His earlier cycle of poems, in which he wrote about the love and the failure of a young miller, was "Die schöne Müllerin."
While Wilhelm Müller never had any experience as a miller, he did grow up near the river, namely the Mulde and its conjunction with the Elbe.
He must have observed and heard about the water mills.

In the case of "Winterreise", we never learned about the profession of a young man who failed to retain
his love. One possibility is that it could be autobiographical, and he chose to portray an anonymous lover
who failed to retain his love. When one studies his biography through his letters and diaries which were published
after his son's death, we find that there was a love experience by Müller which he mentioned in his diary.
Since his son forbade the publication of his dairies, there must be some grounds for the secrecy.
According to his diary, Müller had a love in Brussels where he went as a soldier in the war against Napoleon. The name
of his love, mentioned in his diary on October 15, 1815 was Therese, and Müller mentiond this in conjunction with his
kissing a lock of her hair. There is an additional account of his love in Brussels, but it is one of his letters to his wife,
which has never been published as of present.

The War of Liberation (die Befreiungskriege") was started in 1813 by the Prussian King, Frederick William III in alliance
with Russia, and Austria, and later Britain against France under Napoleon Bonaparte after the defeat of France in Russia.

For Wilhelm Müller, who had just started to study at the University of Berlin, the war and his experience away from the university
was a life-changing experience. He had to learn what it was like to live with many young men in a large group, and out of doors.

He was able to travel away from Berlin and saw a lot of Germany, Bohemia, and Silesia. When the Prussian Army went after the retreating
French Army, Müller crossed the Rhine into Germany and Belgium and he might have been one of the soldieres even in Paris. At least Wilhelm
Müller's friend in Berlin after the war, Wilhelm Hensel, is known to have been in Paris, so Müller must have heard about the stories. But
because he was involved with a local woman in Brussels, Wilhelm Müller had to desert the Army to go home in November, 1814. He could not
possibly make his experience public. Still, this travel going over and coming back was a life-changing experience of his. Therfore he must have
had to write about it in poetry, and I speculate that this might be the way Wilhelm Müller chose to write his experience in poetry in the form of
"Winterreise."

There are a variety of landscapes going from Silesia to France. From the grassy plain in Poland to the hilly banks on the Rhine
and eventually to Paris, the landscape changes are enormous, and the major crossing of the Rhine did take place around January 1, 1814.
Thus it was a winter journey in the main and difficult part of the war.

Erika von Borries, "Wilhelm Müller, Der Dichter der "Winterreise": Eine Biographie" C.H. Beck, ISBN 978 3 406 56212 9
Michael V. Leggiere, "Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany" Vol. 1: The War of Liberation, Spring 1813, Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN 978-1-107-08051-5
Michael V. Leggiere, "The Fall of Napoleon" Vol. 1: The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-87542-4
Last Update: 8.12.2017
Text and Photo © 2017 Tomoko Yamamoto