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Der Vatermörder (1811) D10

This song was recorded on the album 'Schubert Year by Year' on Stone Records, in preparation for Oxford Lieder's 2014 The Schubert Project, the first ever complete performance of Schubert's songs in a single festival. It features one song from each year of Schubert's creative life.

Click here to listen to the song with Daniel Norman and Sholto Kynoch, or click here to buy the CD from Stone Records.

Der Vatermörder

Ein Vater starb von des Sohnes Hand.
Kein Wolf, kein Tiger, nein,
Der Mensch allein, der Tiere Fürst,
Erfand den Vatermord allein.
Der Täter floh, um dem Gericht
Sein Opfer zu entziehn,
In einen Wald, doch konnt er nicht
Den innern Richter fliehn.
Verzehrt und hager, stumm und bleich
Mit Lumpen angetan,
Dem Dämon der Verzweiflung gleich,
Traf ihn ein Häscher an.
Voll Grimm zerstörte der Barbar
Ein Nest mit einem Stein
Und mordete die kleine Schar
Der armen Vögelein.
„Halt ein!“ rief ihm der Scherge zu,
„Verruchter Bösewicht,
Mit welchem Rechte marterst du
Die frommen Tierchen so?“
„Was fromm,“ sprach jener, den die Wut
Kaum hörbar stammeln liess,
„Ich tat es, weil die Höllenbrut
Mich Vatermörder hiess.“
Der Mann beschaut ihn, seine Tat
Verrät sein irrer Blick.
Er fasst den Mörder, und das Rad
Bestraft sein Bubenstück.
Du, heiliges Gewissen, bist
Der Tugend letzter Freund;
Ein schreckliches Triumphlied ist
Dein Donner ihrem Feind.

Der Vatermörder

A father died by his son’s hand.
No wolf, no tiger,
but man alone, the prince of beasts,
he alone invented parricide.
To cheat the law of its victim,
the murderer fled
into a wood, yet he could not
escape the inner judge.
Consumed and haggard, silent and pale,
dressed in rags,
like the demon of despair
he was found by a henchman.
Filled with rage, the savage man
destroyed a nest with a stone
and murdered the little brood
of poor fledglings.
‘Stop,’ cried the henchman,
‘accursed murderer,
what right do you have
to torture these harmless creatures?’
‘Harmless?’ he replied, stammering,
barely audible in his fury,
‘I did it because this hellish brood
called me a parricide.’
The henchman looked at him
whose crazed look betrayed his deed.
he seized the murderer, and the rack
punished the evil man.
You, sacred conscience, are
virtue’s last friend;
to her enemy your thunder
is an awesome song of triumph.

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Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

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Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel was a French-German writer and translator, whose texts were put to music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert. He is sometimes also known as Amédée or Théophile Conrad Pfeffel, which is the French translation of Gottlieb ("Godlove").

Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel was born in Colmar. His father, Johann Konrad Pfeffel, was the mayor of Colmar and a legal consultant of the French king, but died when Gottlieb was only two years old. He was raised by his brother Christian Friedrich Pfeffel, who was ten years older. He went in 1751 to the University of Halle to study Law, with the intention of becoming a diplomat. There, he was a student of the philosopher Christian Wolff. In 1752, he translated Johann Joachim Spalding's Gedanken über den Werth der Gefühle in dem Christenthum in French. In 1754, he went to Dresden for treatment of an eye problem; there, he met the poet Christian Fürchtegott Gellert. His eye condition deteriorated, and in 1758, after an operation, he became completely blind and had to abandon his studies.

In February 1759, he married Margaretha Cleophe Divoux, a merchant's daughter from Strasbourg. They had thirteen children together, of which 7 died before adulthood. He started to establish himself as a writer and translator. In 1762, he translated Magnus Gottfried Lichtwer's Fabeln in French. He also worked on a translation into German of Claude Fleury's Histoire ecclésiastique. He opened a military academy for aristrocratic Protestants in 1773, since these boys were not allowed at the military academy of Paris. He joined the Helvetic Society in 1776, and in 1782 became a citizen of the city of Biel (Bienne) in Switzerland, and became an honorary member of the city council in 1783. The Prussian Academy of Arts made him an honorary member in 1788.

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