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Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty

(1748- 1776)

Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, was German poet who is considered the most gifted lyric poet of the Göttinger Hain, a group of young poets who saw themselves as heirs of the great lyric poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and whose work was characterized by love of nature and the expression of national feeling.

He was influenced by Johann Uz and Friedrich Klopstock, but his love for the Volkslied and his delight in nature preserved him from the artificiality of Uz and the unworldliness of Klopstock. A strain of melancholy runs through all his lyrics. His ballads are the pioneers of the rich ballad literature on English models, which sprang up in Germany over the next few years.

To many, the opening lines of Hölty's poem Der alte Landmann an seinen Sohn ("he Old Farmer to His Son) are the very embodiment of all Prussian virtues. This poem was set to music by Mozart to a melody adapted from the aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from his 1791 opera The Magic Flute. It was played daily by the carillon of the Potsdam Garrison Church where Frederick the Great was initially buried.

Many of Hölty's poems were set to music by composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Several streets and schools in Germany are named after him, including the Hölty-Gymnasium in Wunstorf near Hanover; in 2008, the biennial poetry prize Hölty-Preis was created in his name.

Among the many poems set by Schubert are An den Mond (D193 and D468),  An die Nachtigall (D196), Blumenlied (D431), Frühlingslied (D243 and D398), Klage (D436), Mailied (D129, D199 and D202), Minnelied (D429), Die Nonne (D208), Seligkeit (D433), Totengräberlied (D38 and D44) and Winterlied (D401).

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Related Songs

Composed Title Composer
An den Mond (D193) Franz Schubert
Andres Maienlied 'Hexenlied' (Op. 8 no.8) Felix Mendelssohn
An die Nachtigall (Op. 46 no.4) Johannes Brahms
Die Mainacht (Op. 43 no.2) Johannes Brahms
Minnelied (Op. 71 no.5) Johannes Brahms
Seligkeit (D433) Franz Schubert
An den Mond (D468) Franz Schubert
An die Apfelbäume, wo ich Julien erblickte (D197) Franz Schubert
An die Nachtigall (D196) Franz Schubert
Auf den Tod einer Nachtigall (D201) Franz Schubert
Auf den Tod einer Nachtigall (D399) Franz Schubert
Blumenlied (D431) Franz Schubert
Klage an den Mond (D436) Franz Schubert
Minnelied (D429) Franz Schubert
Der Liebende (D207) Franz Schubert
Erntelied Franz Schubert
Frühlingslied (D398) Franz Schubert
Winterlied (D401) Franz Schubert
Das Traumbild (K530) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart