Category Archive 'Franz Schubert'

15 May 2022

Two Beatles Posts

, , , ,

Ryan Ritchie penned a letter to billionaire Sir Paul complaining about his ticket prices.

Let’s, Paul, for the sake of argument, say I want my parents to, you know, actually see you, so I buy three seats in section C129. Those seats are $450. Each. And, as Ticketmaster reminds me, “+ fees.”

I can’t surprise my parents with tickets to see Sir Paul freakin’ McCartney only for them to sit halfway to LAX. That’s like giving a child a toy without batteries. A $600 toy, mind you.

That $600 doesn’t include parking. I’ve yet to visit SoFi Stadium, but let’s pretend parking is $20. We both know it’s not $20, but let’s pretend. That’s $620. My parents don’t drink alcohol, so I’m definitely saving money on beers, but — and I know you don’t live here — have you any idea of current gas prices? You probably don’t because if I wrote “The Long and Winding Road” I wouldn’t know gas prices, either. Paul, gas is expensive. Like, so expensive that I’m writing to you and wasting space by talking about gas.

Conservatively, if I bought the cheapest tickets, I would be looking at $700 to take my parents to your show and sit far enough away that we will not be able to see you. To be frank, Paul, that sucks. I don’t want to spend that kind of money to stare at the big screens that I am sure will be on stage. Certainly, you’ve heard of YouTube. My parents and I can get the same experience tomorrow morning for much less money.

Paul, serious question: What the fuck?

Can I take a guess before you answer? You probably have no idea how much tickets are to your show in Inglewood or any show on your “Got Back” tour. You also probably have no idea how many tickets are being sold by Ticketmaster as “Verified Resale Tickets,” which appears to make the prices increase and fluctuate. But what about the tickets that are not resales? Why are those so expensive? Surely someone in your camp knows how much tickets cost to your shows. And surely they can be cheaper.

The COVID-19 lockdown meant lots of people didn’t make money. I’m assuming your band members fall into this category. If so, I sympathize with them just like I sympathize with everyone whose income suffered due to the pandemic. What about them, Paul, your fans? What about people like me, people who want to see you, to take their parents out for a night to hear the music of their youth, the music of my youth, the music of all our youths?

Should that night cost $700?

Call me naïve, but I don’t think any three people should have to pay $700 to attend any concert that doesn’t include Elvis walking onto the stage and confirming he faked his 1977 death. That is worth $700.

Sure, you are Paul McCartney, but I grew up going to five-dollar punk shows where the musicians were two feet away from me and my friends. Those were the best bands I’ve ever seen and the best times of my life. You wrote the soundtrack to my life, to my parents’ lives, to so many people’s lives, but even you, Paul, can’t convince me that any concert is worth $190 a ticket to sit as far away as physically possible.

I’m a bass player and songwriter and I’ve been vegan for 18 years (vegetarian for seven before that), which means there’s pretty much nothing you could do to get me to stop loving you and your music. If this letter means anything to you, hopefully it’s this: The idea of seeing you in concert is worth every cent in my bank account and for the first time in my life, I can afford $700 and not worry about how I’m going to eat for the next three months. But I shouldn’t have to. I should be able to see you at a reasonable price, especially from a mile away.


Ryan Ritchie


HT: Ed Driscoll.


Peter Lay (obviously more of a Stones man) contemplates, and rejects, critical hyperbole extolling the greatness of the Fab Four. They’re pretty darn good at their best. Sergeant Pepper was wildly over-rated. And they do not rank with Schubert.

In his review of The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) published in the Observer in October 1968, the filmmaker Tony Palmer hailed Lennon and McCartney as “the greatest songwriters since Schubert”. The White Album, he insisted, “should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making”.

Palmer was not the first, nor will he be the last, commentator to abandon critical faculties in order to claim a place on the “right side of history”. The previous year Kenneth Tynan declared the release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a “decisive moment in the history of western civilisation”.

There are those who still cling to that claim and, as the gushing response to Peter Jackson’s Get Back, an eight-hour film of salvaged material from the 1969 Let it Be sessions, suggests, the popularity of the Beatles and the affection in which they are held shows no sign of abating. But Palmer’s Schubert comparison is a telling one, not least because The White Album does contain one Schubertian masterpiece: Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird”.

A comment, it is claimed, on the US civil rights struggle, “Blackbird” was inspired by JS Bach’s “Bourée in E minor”, a piece for lute with which McCartney was acquainted. No other song distils his melodic genius down to its purest form and even the lyrics are a notch above the Beatles’s often banal musings.

The problem, apart from the fact that Schubert wrote scores of superior songs, is that The White Album — a double LP which is best edited down to a shortish two-sider — also contains what might be McCartney’s nadir: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, a song of “desperate levity” so hated by the other band members, that they vetoed its release as a single. Its irritatingly ingratiating melody took it to number one anyway, covered by Marmalade.

It’s the pattern with Beatles LPs — that frustrating mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Even Revolver — widely regarded as their masterpiece — contains a couple of duffers, courtesy of George Harrison. Similarly, his contribution to The White Album, along with the portentous “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, is “Piggies”, a grimly twee attack on bourgeois conformity that undermines all the trippy sentiments of peace and love and karma that Harrison preached to his immature end. One is reminded of the Twitter trolls who remind us to “be kind” while spewing misanthropy left, right and centre.

Nowhere is this inconsistency as striking as on Sgt Pepper. Despite its treasures — McCartney’s “She’s Leaving Home”, a heartbreaking narrative of intergenerational misunderstanding set to a rising melody of instant memorability; and “A Day in the Life”, perhaps their finest hour, with verses by Lennon, detached and dreamy (“I’d love to turn you on”) married to McCartney’s jaunty middle section celebrating banality and routine (a psychiatrist could make much of it) — the rest is mediocre: “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Lovely Rita”, “Fixing a Hole”, all fine and dandy, but Schubert? Sgt Pepper has aged horribly in its psychedelic whimsy, especially in comparison with its great contemporary, the Beach Boys’s Pet Sounds. …

15 Jul 2016

Franz Schubert: “Der Leiermann”

, , , ,

24 Nov 2013

Franz Schubert: Der Erlkönig, D. 328

, , , ,

Heinrich Schlusnus (1888-1952), accompanied by Franz Rupp. Recorded 1933.

17 Nov 2013

Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade, D. 118

, , , , ,

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006), with Edwin Fischer (1886-1960), piano. Recorded October 4-7, 1952 at No. 1A Studio, Abbey Road, London.

20 Oct 2013

Schubert: Sei Mir Gegrüsst, D. 741 (Op. 20/1)

, , ,

Heinrich Rehkemper (1894-1949)

Franz Schubert: Sei mir gegrüsst (“O du Entriß’ne mir” ), song for voice & piano, D. 741 (Op. 20/1). Recorded 1928 Grammaphon 95103 (1014 bm).

14 Oct 2013

Schubert: Der Lindenbaum, D.911, 5

, , , ,

The inimitable Gerhard Hüsch accompanied by Hans Udo Müller in 1933.

06 Oct 2013

Harry Plunket Greene: Franz Schubert, Die Winterreise Op.89, XXIV. Der Leiermann

, , ,

The all-time best rendition of Der Leiermann is Harry Plunket Greene‘s performance in English (!), recorded in January of 1934.

29 Sep 2013

Schubert: Auf dem Wasser zu Singen D. 774

, ,

Elisabeth Schumann, 1888-1952

15 Sep 2013

Gerhard Hüsch: “Ungeduld” From Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin”

, ,

02 Sep 2013

Nikolayeva Plays Schubert’s Sonata D.960

, , , ,

Her performance is up there in quality with Arthur Schnabel’s.

09 May 2010

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen

, , , , , , , ,

Moritz von Schwind, Schubertiade, 1867

I thought I ought to follow the example of my friends at Maggie’s Farm and, by way of sharing some personal knowledge of high points of the recorded repertoire, start making a regular practice of posting a link to particular performances and recordings.

This particular lieder performance by Elly Ameling is truly remarkable, indubitably the best single performance of Hirt auf dem Felsen ever. I found immediately, simply glancing through references on-line, that my own opinion is widely, and very articulately, shared.

The mp3 on YouTube is, alas! a pale shadow of the CD, which is, in turn, a pale shadow of the old LP version, but such is life.



N.A. writes in a 1990 Gramaphone review:

Few, if any Schubert song recitals, have given me as much pleasure over the years as this one by the Dutch soprano, Elly Ameling. Originally… issued (on a long-playing record titled a) “Schubertiade.”… Ameling’s voice was perhaps at its very best at this time. ..

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen [features] the clarinettist, Hans Deinzer, playing an elderly instrument of unspecified provenance. … Ameling is sensitively accompanied… by Jorg Demus whose intimate playing on a fortepiano tuned with exquisite imperfection has proved over the years an indispensable ingredient of the Schubertiade. Demus brings more expression to the accompaniment than most, with beautifully judged rubato and delicately shaded dynamics. Ameling, fervent and wistful, with faultless intonation, impeccable diction and a rare warmth of sentiment leaves an indelible mark on the sensibilities; it’s a performance to treasure for a lifetime.

At Amazon, Russell F. Scalf of Berkeley, California writes:

Elly Ameling’s breathtaking performance of The Shepherd on the Rock just goes right through me. This may be my ‘island’ recording. You know, if you are banished to an island with just one recording forever, which one would it be? Maybe this one.

D Bullock of Newtown, Massachusetts, adds:

One of Schubert’s last and greatest songs (and that’s saying a lot for arguably the greatest songwriter of any era) was The Shepherd on the Rock (Der Hirt auf dem Felsen). This song, in which the soprano is joined by piano and clarinet, is very long and extremely challenging, because there are three distinct moods to be communicated by the singer, to say nothing of the sheer vocal gymnastics. I have long regarded the song as a bitterly unfair test for merely excellent sopranos, and I have great sympathy for any soprano courageous enough to attempt it in a live recital. It’s nearly impossible to bring off. I have purchased around 10 recordings of the song, all by famous sopranos, and all except one — Elly Ameling’s triumph on this CD — have notable shortcomings in one or another of the three phases of the song. When I listen in awe to Ameling’s glorious version, I sometimes imagine that Schubert, who died at far too young an age, has been granted a “second visit” to earth, and that he appears in the modern age, just there, on the sidewalk in front of my house. I run out and accost him on the street. “Mr. Schubert, there is something you must come to hear IMMEDIATELY. A soprano named Elly Ameling finally mastered every note and nuance of that (almost) impossible song!”


Elly Ameling, soprano; Jörg Demus, piano; Hans Deinzer, clarinet

8:52 video


Der Hirt auf dem Felsen
, D 965
(The Shepherd on the Rock, D 965)

(The first four and the final verses are from Wilhelm Müller, verses five and six are by Karl August Varnhagen von Ense)

Wilhelm Müller – Der Berghirt

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,
ins tiefe Thal herneider seh,
und singe, und singe,
fern aus dem tiefen, dunkeln Thal
schwingt sich empor der Wiederhall,
der Wiederhall der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt,
von unten, von unten.
Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
drum sehn ich mich so heiß nach ihr
hinüber, hinüber.

(The Mountain Shepherd

When on the highest peak I stand
And look down into the valley below
And sing and sing,
Then from the distant vale’s dark depths
The echo soars up towards me,
The echo of the chasm.

The farther my voice carries,
The brighter it echoes back
From below, from far below.
My sweetheart lives so far away,
That’s why I long to be with her,
Over there, over there!

Varnhagen – Nächtlicher Schall

In tiefem Gram verzehr’ ich mich,
mir ist die Freude hin,
auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
ich hier so einsam bin,
ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
so sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
mit wunderbarer Macht.

(Nocturnal Sounds

By deepest grief I am consumed,
I am robbed of every joy.
Hope has left me here on earth,
Left me full of loneliness.

The sound of longing heard in the wood song,
The sound of longing through the night,
Lift hearts up to heaven
With miraculous power.

Wilhelm Müller – Liebesgedanken

Der Frühling will kommen,
der Frühling meine Freud,
nun mach ich mich fertig zum Wandern bereit.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
je heller sie mir widerklingt

(Love Thoughts
But now Spring is on its way,
Spring, that gladdens my heart,
And I make myself ready
To go out walking.

The farther my voice carries,
The brighter it echoes back.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Franz Schubert' Category.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark