Sofronitzy plays Der Erlkonig

The total over-identification and ability to create musical images of a legendary pianist.

The Erlking

Who rides so lately through night and wind?
It's the father with his child;
He's got the boy in his arm,
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

"My son, why do you hide your face so anxiously?"
"Don't you see the Erlking, father?
The Erlking with crown and coat?"
"My son, it's a streak of fog."

"You lovely child, come, come with me!
I'll play oh so beautiful games with you;
There are a couple of colorful flowers near the shore,
My mother has a couple of golden robes."

"My father, my father, and don't you hear,
What the Erlking promises silently?"
"Be quiet, stay calm, my child;
The wind rustles through withered leaves."

"Do you, good boy, want to come with me?
My daughters shall take care of you nicely;
My daughters lead the nightly dance,
And lull and dance and sing you to sleep."

"My father, my father, and don't you see there
Erlking's daughters at the gloomy place?"
"My son, my son, I see it clearly:
It seems to be the old grey willows."

"I love you, I'm fascinated by your beautiful form;
And if you're not willing, I'll have to use force."
"My father, my father, now he is grabbing me!
Erlking has hurt me!"

The father shudders, he rides swiftly,
He holds the groaning child in his arms,
Reaches his home with effort and distress;
The child in his arms was dead.

Goethe's most famous ballad, written in 1782, depicts the death of a child assailed by a supernatural devilish being, the Erlkönig, during a desperate night ride.

Franz Schubert composed his Lied "Erlkönig" for solo voice and piano at the age of 17 in 1815, setting the text from Goethe's poem. 

Schubert revised the song three times before publishing his fourth version in 1821 as his Opus 1.

The song was first performed in concert on 1 December 1820 at a private gathering in Vienna and received its public premiere on 7 March 1821 at Vienna's Theater am Kärntnertor.

The Erlking

Schubert's autograph of a simplified accompaniment to his "Erlkönig", one of several revisions.

The beginning of this exciting performance will make you jump out of your chair! 

Every pianist know how difficult and physically demanding repeated octaves played fast and loud can be, but here the initial impulse is so dramatic and the sound so intense that you can almost see the galloping horse in the darkness, the anguishing father and the delirious and unconscious child.

Vladimir Sofronitzy (St. Petersburg, 1901-1961) total over-identification and ability to create musical images is here at such height that you can almost see Franz Liszt himself playing the piano!

And we are hit in the deep of our heart...

Vladimir Sofronitzy plays Schubert/Liszt Der Erlkonig

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