Winterelegie

(1966-1968)
sop, mez, alt solo + 1.1.0.1/0.0.0.0/2 perc/pno/1.1.1.0.0
Solo(s) + 9+ instr
11:00
1996
A.0395
55
B4, 48 pages

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The life of Hölderlin (1770-1843) exhibits the basic pattern of the Romantic genius in many ways. Among the friends of his youth, insanity is the common mode of departure from this world. With Hölderlin, it becomes an infinitely extended interregnum between life and death, long years of quiet waiting and solitary monologues. 

It struck me recently that Schubert’s Winterreise might well be the story of Hölderlin’s journey into insanity; indeed, it could almost have been his travel journal when - as if in flight - he set off on his last journey in 1802 from Bordeaux over the Haute-Auvergne to Stuttgart. The wandering towards the final release is a 40-year long wandering without a geographical goal. - All within the space of four walls in a tower in Tübingen.

Winterelegie is based partly on Brueghel’s gloomy winter picture ”The Return of the Hunters”,  and partly on the second stanza of Hölderlin’s poem ”Hälfte des Lebens”. 

- Axel Borup-Jørgensen


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