Following the development of the German
Lied after the nineteenth century – when it was widely known as the setting of Romantic poetry to music – this book explores the changing artistic scene in the early twentieth century, as rapid social, economic and environmental changes affected German cultural production. The
Lied then faced not only a crisis of identity, but also a threat to its survival. This book considers the literary and musical ideas that both challenged and complemented each other as new directions in songwriting were developed across the modern period.
The composers selected for their relevance in
Lieder composition during this time illustrate not only the diversity of their musical thought but also a changing approach to the relationship between the poetic text and its musical counterpart. Hans Pfitzner represents the determination to maintain established tradition; subsequently, a chronological progression through the individuality of Paul Hindemith and social integrity of Hanns Eisler leads to the point where transformation of the genre can be said to have begun, with Arnold Schönberg. With the
Lieder of Alban Berg and Anton Webern, the genre arrived at a point of convergence with the ideals of German modernism. This study offers new insights into the cultural significance of German songwriting in the first part of the twentieth century.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. XVIII, 300 pp., 45 b/w ill.
Lesley-Ann Brown holds a PhD in German from the University of Nottingham. She is a classically trained pianist, having attended
the Royal College of Music as a Junior Exhibitioner and the Royal Academy of Music as a senior student. She also received
a BMus degree from the University of London. An accompanist, teacher and examiner, her current research concerns the influence
of the German poet Richard Dehmel, whose work prompted composers to produce Lieder during the first years of the twentieth