I had a go at this in a lesson at about 9.30 in the morning.
“Do you want to try something really challenging?”
“Go on, then, … ” I responded. (I need to learn how to say no).
This is the most challenging song I’ve ever tried. It’s more difficult than Wagner’s Liebestod which I’ve been having a go at on and off for a couple of years. It ‘s not just that this is 12 minutes long, as opposed to Liebestod’s ‘only’ 7+ minutes).
But this song is wonderful. It allows for a great range of emotional expression. It’s in three bits. I adore the second, darkest. And I love the duet of voice and clarinet. Gruberova (in the video above) could have made more distinction between the first two and the third sections, I feel. Another WordPresser, Entangled, has posted an interpretation by Elly Ameling.
Schubert wrote The Shepherd on the Rock, shortly before he died, at the request of singer and friend Pauline Anna Milder-Hauptmann. She wanted something that would enable her to express a broad range of emotions. The lyrics tell the story of a lonely shepherd who wants a girlfriend. During the course of the song, he has a chat with some mountain echoes, gets depressed, then buoyant at the prospect of the coming spring, and the return of hope.