The lied and the melodie are varieties of songs that have their similarities and differences. They both originated in the 19th century, during the era of Romanticism; the first one was from German composers, while the second was from the French. Primarily, these were poems sung with an accompaniment of a piano (Encyclopedia Britannica; Resonance School of Music). The voice of a singer and piano playing was combined into a musical unity that was penetrated by a highly emotional narrative of a poem that underlined it. However, the lied preceded the melodie and had a darker tone. The most influential German-lied composer was Franz Schubert, who wrote an immense number of compositions based on the lyrics of the famous poet Goethe (Resonance School of Music). For melodie, its founder was Berlioz, who changed the light tone of romances to a darker one and selected the other format of the strophes (Encyclopedia Britannica). In the essay, the song styles of the lied and the melodie are reflected upon, and the compositions of the mentioned authors are reviewed.
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The songs that are to be reviewed are “Erlkonig” by Schubert and Berlioz’s “Le Spectre De La Rose” and “Sur Les lagunes.” The combination of voice and piano genuinely reflects the poetry in each of these songs. I have read the translations of the poems upon which the songs are based and could say that the lied and the melodies express the emotional pull of the original texts and even some details, such as the horse run in “Erlkonig.” In my opinion, the piano accompaniment serves as a partner to the voice since it not only creates additional sound but also sets the tone and recreates the importance of the poetry’s sense details. While the voice depicts the events in the poetry verbally and precisely and expresses emotions through metaphors and rhymes, the piano communicates emotions through tempo and tone. Therefore, both the piano and the voice are essential in delivering the emotion the poetry describes.
“Erlkonig,” “Le Spectre De La Rose,” and “Sur Les lagunes” are all similar in their theme of death. Yet, “Erlkonig” seems to be the most dark-colored to me, tragic and intense. “Le Spectre De La Rose” is somewhat light-hearted and sad, yet not so profoundly sorrowful. “Sur Les lagunes,” in my view, contains the same light as the previously mentioned melodie, but it seems to be more concentrated on mourning. Thus, the three compositions reflect death in three different ombre of emotions: woe, sadness, and grief.
These compositions are apparently different from Brahms’s “Wiegenlied.” This song was not familiar to me before, yet it produced a positive impression on me. The piano parts resembled that of the rhythmic swinging cradle. In turn, the voice that produced the soothing words was incredibly calm and instilled hope for better days. Thus, both parts represent the indispensable pieces of one composition that contain its meaning.
To conclude, the described songs are beautiful and left a pleasant impression on me when I first listened to them. However, the most appealing composition was “Erlkonig,” which filled my soul with mighty sorrow. My attraction to this lied is primarily caused by the powerful narrative that serves as a foundation for it. Moreover, the loaded sound of the piano in the composition seems to be the most intense part that I have ever heard.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “Mélodie.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Web.
Resonance School of Music. “A Look at German Lieder.” Resonance School of Music, Web.
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