Schubert - Rosamunde
Type of Spiritual Experience
After producing two operas, Schubert turned his attention more firmly than ever in the direction of the stage, where, for a variety of reasons, he was almost completely unsuccessful. All in all, he embarked on twenty stage projects, each of them failures which were quickly forgotten. In 1822, Alfonso und Estrella was refused, partly owing to its libretto.
Fierabras (D 796) was rejected in the fall of 1823. Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators, D 787) was prohibited by the censor (apparently on the grounds of its title), and Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern (D 797) was withdrawn after two nights, owing to the poor quality of the play for which Schubert had written incidental music. Rosamunde contains some of the most charming music that Schubert ever composed.
A description of the experience
is a play by Helmina von Chézy, which is primarily remembered for the incidental music which Franz Schubert composed for it. Music and play premiered in Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 20 December 1823. After the overture, the ten numbers of the Rosamunde incidental music, D 797, are:
- Entr'acte No. 1, in B minor (Allegro molto moderato)
- Ballet music No. 1, really two pieces in one. The first is a march in B minor (Allegro moderato) beginning with a modified version of the opening theme of the first entr'acte. Like the entr'acte, this ends in B major. A bridge passage leads to a lyrical piece in G major bearing the tempo marking of Andante un poco assai.
- a. Entr'acte No. 2 in D major (Andante), the outer sections of which have the same thematic material as those of No. 5, the "Chorus of Spirits." The central sections of both, though different, are in a similar mood.
b. Romanze, "Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöh'n" (The Full Moon Shines on the Mountain Height) (Andante con moto) in F minor and major for alto and orchestra.
- Geisterchor (Chorus of Spirits), "In der Tiefe wohnt das Licht" (In the Deep Dwells the Light) in D major (Adagio), accompanying the brewing of the poison.
- Entr'acte No. 3 in B♭ major (Andantino) is one of the two best-known pieces in the score. The main theme was used again in the Impromptu in B♭, Op. 142 (D 935), No. 3. Schubert used an almost identical theme in the second movement of his String Quartet in A minor, D 804.
- Hirtenmelodien (Shepherds' Melodies) in B♭ major (Andante), a sextet for clarinets, bassoons and horns.
- Hirtenchor (Shepherds' Chorus), "Hier auf den Fluren" (Here on the Fields) in B♭ major (Allegretto).
- Jägerchor (Hunters' Chorus), "Wie lebt sich's so fröhlich im Grünen" (How Merry Life is in the Country) in D major (Allegro moderato).
- Ballet No. 2, the other favorite, an Andantino in G major.