Cover image for Goethe and Schubert : the unseen bond
Goethe and Schubert : the unseen bond
Whitton, Kenneth S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Ore. : Amadeus Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
296 pages : illustrations 24 cm
Reading Level:
1400 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.S3 W36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



An authority on the German lied form (art song evolved from folk song) links two eminent figures in German Romanticism who somehow never met. Whitton (emeritus, European studies, U. of Bradford) showcases Goethe poems known mainly through some 80 Schubert lieder. Indexed by name, Goethe's and Schube

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

During his short life, Schubert set 80 of Goethe's texts to music. Many of these songs, for example, "Gretchen am Spinnrade" and "Erlk”nig," have remained among the best loved in the lieder repertory and are largely responsible for Schubert's continuing popularity. But whereas Schubert readily admitted his debt to Goethe, there was no reciprocity. In fact, Goethe all but ignored the composer. In his exposition of the relationship, Whitton (emeritus, European studies, Univ. of Bradford) presents an overview of German lied, biographical studies of both men, and a chapter discussing the reasons they never met. The second half of the book presents each of the 80 songs in chronological order, with a translation and discussion of text and setting. The writing is a bit stiff and somewhat uncritical, but it does serve well as an introduction to the subject. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄTimothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Examining mostly the historical interrelations between the composer and the poet, Whitton presents updated biographies of both men based on primarily European publications. Of interest is his attempt to explain why Goethe, citing personal problems and practical business matters, never responded to Schubert's song packets sent in 1816 and 1825. Almost half the book contains an index to Schubert's 80 settings of Goethe's texts, with brief notations about each song's date, background, and history and a full English translation. Whitton clearly aims this volume at an inexperienced audience: he provides surprisingly little analysis of the poetry (rhyme, metrics, interpretation) or music (beyond citing key, number of measures, and estimated performance time). Such omissions are the more obvious if one compares this work with similar efforts dealing with Schubert's settings of the poems by Wilhelm M"uller or Harry Seeling's contribution to German Lieder in the Nineteenth Century, ed. by Rufus Hallmark (1996). A. M. Hanson; St. Olaf College

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 9
Acknowledgmentsp. 13
About the Textp. 15
Introductionp. 17
Part 1
Chapter 1 The German Lied before Franz Schubertp. 23
Chapter 2 Goethe, Music, and Musiciansp. 41
Chapter 3 Schubert, Poetry, and Poetsp. 87
Chapter 4 Why Did Schubert Never Meet Goethe?p. 131
Part 2
Chapter 5 The Goethe Lieder of Franz Schubertp. 151
Notesp. 257
Bibliographyp. 272
Index of Namesp. 281
Index of Goethe's Poems and Other Worksp. 291
Index of Schubert's Lieder and Other Worksp. 294