An die Musik (“To Music”) is Schubert’s moving ode to the art of music.
Composed in March of 1817, the song can be heard as a deeply contemplative prayer of gratitude. The vocal line engages in a canonic dialogue with an equally important voice in the piano’s lower register. The music is gently propelled forward by pulsating harmony. Using the most sublimely simple means, this brief song inhabits a space of dignity and reverence.
Here is the late Christa Ludwig’s 1967 performance with pianist Geoffrey Parsons:
Here is a translation of the text by Franz von Schober:
O blessed art, how often in dark hours,
When the savage ring of life tightens round me,
Have you kindled warm love in my heart,
Have transported me to a better world!
Transported to a better world
Often a sigh has escaped from your harp,
A sweet, sacred harmony of yours
Has opened up the heavens to better times for me,
O blessed art, I thank you for that!
O blessed art, I thank you!
- Schubert: An die Musik, D. 547, Christa Ludwig, Geoffrey Parsons Amazon
Featured Image: Schubert’s manuscript for “An die Musik”