At the well in front of the gate

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1917 published welfare postcard of the German colonial war donation after a picture by Hans Baluschek (1870-1935)

At the fountain in front of the gate is the first verse of a German song that became known both in the form of an art song and in the form of a folk song . The original title is Der Lindenbaum . The text is by Wilhelm Müller and is part of a cycle of poems that Müller entitled Die Winterreise . Franz Schubert set the entire cycle of poems under the title Winterreise and in this context also the linden tree as an art song. In the best-known and most popular arrangement of Schubert's setting by Friedrich Silcher , the work has become a folk song. The opening verse of the poem has become the standard title for this version.

Müller's poem

Wilhelm Müller first published the poem as Der Lindenbaum in Urania - Taschenbuch for the year 1823 , one of the popular paperback books of the early 19th century, which contained poems, stories and reports on several hundred pages. The work there formed the fifth poem of a cycle , entitled Wanderlieder by Wilhelm Müller. The winter trip. In 12 songs. The text, edited by Christian G. Ackermann in Dessau and with a dedication to Carl Maria von Weber , appeared unchanged in a version of Winterreise expanded to 24 poems in the second volume of the poems from the papers left behind by a traveling French horn player in 1824.


At the well in front of the gate
There is a linden tree:
In its shadow I dream
so many sweet dreams.

I cut
many a dear word into its bark ;
In joy and sorrow
I was always drawn to him.

I had to hike today too.
Past in the dead of night,
I closed my
eyes in the dark .

And its branches rustled,
As if they were calling to me:
Come to me, journeyman,
here you will find your rest!

The cold winds blew
into my face;
The hat flew off my head,
I did not turn around.

Now I am many hours
away from that place,
And I always hear it rustling:
You would find peace there!

Metric and formal

Without deviations, the poem follows a fixed formal pattern that was already well-known in Müller's time: four-verse stanzas that alternate between two-syllable and monosyllabic ( alternation ); in each stanza the closing syllables of the second and fourth verses rhyme . A continuous upbeat meter is underlaid to the text: iambi with three accents each.

The form is referred to in literature as a folk song strophe. “Folksongs”, however, do not follow a specific form; For example, in the well-known folk song collection “ Des Knaben Wunderhorn ” there is a great variety of variably handled meters , rhyme schemes and stanzas . The form of the folk song strophe was very popular with the romantics as a song-like, sangable, simplicity suggestive poem form and was already established. One example is Eichendorff's ten years older poem “The broken ring”, at the beginning of which the linden tree sounds “In a cool valley / There goes a mill wheel”. However, Müller handles the formal scheme in this poem very strictly and dispenses with any variations.

Almost all the poems of the Winterreise are metrically and formally bound in a similar form. The "calm flow of verses" that arises is hardly affected by the gloomy themes and moods of the winter trip, as Rolf Vollmann notes. This contrast has strong effects, Vollmann even speaks of "horror". Erika von Borries argues in a similar way: The contrast between the calm pace of language and the disturbing statement gives the cycle of poems a “gruesome and disconcerting” expression.

Context: the winter journey

Context of the song - A journey in winter

The linden tree is a station in a rather loosely composed plot at which the poems from Müller's cycle are lined up. Even before it begins, there is a failed love affair between the protagonist , a young man who embodies the lyric self . The first song of the cycle, Gute Nacht , describes the initial situation: The "I" leaves the family home of the loved one on a winter night and embarks on a lonely, aimless hike, the stations of which reflect the poems of the cycle. These stations include icy rivers and snow-covered heights, villages and cemeteries - and also the linden tree.

The Winterreise has been described as a “ monodrama ” or as a series of “ role poems ”. In all stations only the lyric I speaks to itself, but also to nature or to its heart. Some motifs repeat themselves again and again: love and longing for death, the contrast between the frozen winter landscape and the flowing emotions (especially in the form of tears), defiance and resignation, but above all the like driven, compulsive wandering.

The linguistic contrasts (hot tears - snow, freezing - melting etc.), which are also characteristic of the folk song, which dispenses with subtle nuances, are striking in the entire cycle. According to Erika von Borries, Müller succeeds in conveying the experiences of a modern age embedded in old and naive-familiar forms. The leitmotifs of the linden tree , dream and rest, appear several times in the cycle, each with different meanings - according to von Borries, this ambiguity stands for the poetic representation of a world that has become unreliable.

According to Achim Goeres, the cycle and the term winter (see Heine's winter fairy tale ) should be understood as a metaphor for a policy of restoration after the Congress of Vienna . As with Heine, the political “winter” is opposed to “May” (“May was my weight”) as a political counterpart. Harry Goldschmidt describes the political dimension of the winter trip as follows:

“In its unrepeatable unity of verse and tone, the Winterreise offers one of the most shocking, if not the most shocking artistic double testimony to the political bondage that Heine named as the real cause of romantic irony and Weltschmerz. […] What has actually driven him away and not even in the 'ruthless tavern', the cool inn of death, what finally joins him to the companion of the beggar and hurdy-gurdy, is the weight of the super-personal, general fate. "

Müller's text on Winterreise appeared in the literary magazine Urania , which was banned in 1822 , and it was a text that was the reason for the ban. Schubert himself was not politically active, but he had close contacts with circles of the intellectual opposition.

Various attempts have been made to put together the poems of the Winterreise in groups. Norbert Michels, for example, assumes groups of four (here: The Linden Tree , Wasserflut , Auf dem Flusse and Rückblick ), whereby the first poem of a group should always represent a novelty, psychological basis or newly emerging hope of the hiker.


The time structure of the poem clearly results in three parts: The first two stanzas are partly timeless, partly they refer to a more distant past. Only with the third stanza does the ego refer to the plot of the winter journey ; it begins to tell, namely of an event that happened only recently: it ("today") passed the linden tree. The sixth stanza contains a review of the self standing in the narrated present (“now”).

Wilhelm Müller, Franz Schubert and Friedrich Silcher (from left to right)

With a fountain, gate and linden tree, the first pair brings classic components of a 'lovely place' or locus amoenus . It is followed by a series of thoroughly conventional images (sweet dream, dear word, joy and sorrow) that border on the cliché and evoke a past happy time in this place . It is precisely this part of the song that is so often reproduced in the picture in the representations on postcards. In relation to the other nature images of the winter journey , which are determined by rock, ice and snow, the ensemble Brunnen / Tor / Lindenbaum looks like an idyllic island.

With the third stanza, not only does the chronology change, but also the mood abruptly. The static idyll is contrasted by the restless, forced movement of the lyrical self, which leads past the linden tree. Although it is “deep night” anyway, the hiker refuses eye contact: “He doesn't want to or can't look.” But the magnetic effect that was already attributed to the linden tree (“it always pulled me away to him”) is realized another sense, hearing: the rustling of the leafless branches that the hiker hears as a call and promise. Christiane Wittkop points out the dark u-vowels that shape this promise of release from wandering on (zu, Ruh) - and the light a- and i-vowels that clearly set the following stanza apart (cold, straight, face, Winds, blew). This fifth stanza approaches a conscious act of the lyrical ego for the first time: it resists the tree's call; this decision is given its own verse, the fourth verse of this stanza, while otherwise the units of meaning regularly comprise two lines of verse. The ego decides to wander on without protection (without a hat) and presents its face to the cold and force of the wind.

The transition to the sixth stanza is again marked by an abrupt change of mood. Now the narrative situation comes into the picture: the I remembering and narrating, “some hours” away from the events of the last three stanzas. The last stanza again picks up on the element of timelessness ("always") that characterized the first two stanzas, as well as the address of the linden tree branches from stanza 4, which is now in the unrealis ("fändest"). It can be viewed as a kind of lasting summary from a distance (“that place ... there”).

Formal and content-related text interpretations

Both Müller's text and the two musical interpretations of the text have given rise to interpretations and patterns of interpretation in the literary and musicological fields that are purely related to Müller, Schubert and Silcher , but also in the broader context of music sociology , history , German studies and psychology .

Müller's cycle can be interpreted differently from the point of view of the use of linguistic forms, but also with regard to the intended context of meaning (individual or general human or historical-political meaning). These different possibilities also influence the interpretation of the Lied vom Lindenbaum, including its metaphors and formal features.


Particularly striking terms in Müller's poem, to which symbolic meaning had already been assigned in everyday life and in literature:

  • the fountain,
  • the linden tree
  • the walk
  • the hat

In Müller's poetry as well as in Schubert's setting, these symbols usually retain their long-term ambivalent meaning.

The fountain

The fountain has been an ambiguous symbol that has long been used in literature and fairy tales. It can represent the ambivalence of life and mortal danger. The German word means both the free flowing spring and its water, the enclosed spring and the dug well up to modern times. On the one hand, it has life-giving aspects as a source, water of eternal life , a symbol for growth and renewal ( fountain of youth ), and is also a social meeting place. It is also a symbol of love, courtship and marriage. On the other hand, because of its often unrecognizable depth, it also embodies the access to hidden, creative and often destructive layers of the soul.

The linden tree

At the fountain in front of the gate - Austrian picture postcard from 1913.

The linden tree has a special meaning in the symbolism and metaphor of the tree. In Müller's time, the linden tree as a tree of love or a meeting place for lovers and a symbol of a mild and beneficial nature was an established motif in German literature and music, which has emerged since Walther von der Vogelweides Under der linden or the folk song of the 16th century Es stands a lind in that valley . It also stood for motherhood, fertility, security, harmony and protection, dance and celebrations. See Carl Gustav Jung's interpretation of the linden tree as a tree of lovers and motherliness . But it was also the place of the court ( judicial linden tree), old Germanic meeting of the judiciary ( thing ), symbol of the community, place of condemnation and execution as well as the place preferred by suicides . It thus became a symbol of community, which in Müller's text contrasts with the loneliness of the wanderer.

The linden tree, together with the oak, was considered a tree of the Germans and especially of German Romanticism. The entire ensemble of the first two verses of Müller's poem appears again and again in the years around 1800 as a place of idyll: for example in Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea , where the lovers meet “in front of the village”, “shaded by the dignified darkness of sublime linden trees "; or in the sorrows of young Werther , where “there is a fountain right in front of the place”, as a place of social life and fantasizing about paradise, and right next door is an inn under two linden trees. The first two verses of poetry appear in the linden tree like a picture in a frame - a timeless, well-known tableau of the idyll.

This "fountain linden tree" promises the hiker the release from his wandering, the rest. In the context of the gloomy theme of the winter journey with its numerous symbols of death, this calm gains the connotation of eternal calm, the temptation to end the migration through suicide. This obvious interpretation has often become effective in the reception of the work. A prominent example is the Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann . There the narrator answers the question of what the world is that is behind the song from the linden tree:

“It was death. [...] And yet behind this lovely product was death. ... According to its original nature it might not be sympathy with death, but something very popular and full of life, but the spiritual sympathy with it was sympathy with death - pure piety, the meaningful itself at its beginning, that should not even be the slightest be contested; but in their consequence were the results of the darkness. "

The hero of the magic mountain , Hans Castorp, and his fate is finally lost in the battles of the First World War, on the lips exactly that passage of the song in which the linden tree expresses its lure for the first time: "as if they were rustling to you". The scientific reception has also repeatedly emphasized this connection between the linden symbol in Müller's poem and death.

The lyrical ego feels the magnetic effect of the longing for death, it remains with him until the last stanza; but she resists it. It “doesn't turn around” and stays with its driven wanderings, in the region of snow, ice and cold winds. Heinrich Heine later rephrased exactly this figure, the turning away from the romantic, longing image of the linden tree and turning to contemporary winter, in a clearly ironic speech:

Moonlight-drunk linden blossoms,
They pour their scents,
And nightingale
songs are filled with the leaves and the air.


Oh, I want to
confess it to you, beloved, with pleasure, oh, I would like
that a cold north wind suddenly brought a
white flurry of snow;

And that we, covered with fur
And in the brightly decorated sleigh,
ringing bells, cracking whips,
glided across the river and the corridors.

Linden tree and fountain

The typical grouping of linden trees and fountains as the heart of a settlement, as a social meeting point when fetching water, a place for evening conversations, but also a conference location is a real motif that existed long before the 19th century.

The connection between a fountain and a linden tree is also a well-known motif in fairy tales. So it says in The Frog King or the Iron Heinrich :

“There was a large, dark forest near the king's castle, and in the forest under an old linden tree was a well: when the day was really hot, the king's child went out into the forest and sat at the edge of the cool well . "

The walk

Pictorial representation of hiking in the romantic era - Caspar David Friedrich : The Wanderer above the Sea of ​​Fog (1818)

Hiking is part of human awareness. Romanticism shaped the topos of hiking and wandering in the 19th century . The view of the landscape and social realities was characterized by the view of one's own inner self. The symbol of hiking is also in Schubert's work, e.g. B. in the Wanderer-Fantasy and other songs, to be found frequently. The symbolism of hiking illustrated the special character of the human journey through life, which also includes endangerment, failure and death. In the winter trip, the “having to wander” becomes an obsession that leads away from human relationships, into delusions and death. The Schubertian wanderer has little in common with the gain in experience and maturation as with the wandering craftsman.

The hat

The hat (or its loss) can be interpreted as a psychological status symbol or symbol of the power of the wearer and its protective symbol, or it can represent an indication of the loss of social power. Another poetic application of this symbolism can be found in Jakob van Hoddis ' poem with the significant title End of the World (1911), which begins with the very similar line of verse “The citizen flies from the pointed head of the hat”. The loss of the hat when leaving the city in Die Winterreise can be seen as "parable for a citizen who leaves the bourgeoisie". According to CG Jung , the loss of the hat can also symbolize the “loss of one's own shadow”. Even after the Napoleonic Wars, wearing a hat (see Heckerhut ) was a commitment to bourgeois-democratic, then revolutionary attitudes.

Schubert's song

Title page of the first edition of the first part from January 1828
"The Linden Tree", Hans Duhan , 1928

Schubert's art of song was influenced by the Swabian-South German School and the First Berlin Song School , as well as by certain models such as Beethoven ( Adelaide , An die ferne Geliebte ) or Haydn's English Kanzonetten and Mozart's Song of the Violet . Nevertheless, his emancipation of the accompanying instrument - with its own motifs, accompanying forms and overarching references - was a complete novelty in the song at the time.

The linden tree , set as a song for high male voice with piano accompaniment, forms No. 5 of the song cycle Winterreise by Franz Schubert ( German directory No. 911-5).

The song was performed for the first time in Schubert's circle of friends. Joseph von Spaun reported that one day Schubert came to him and said to him: "Come to Schober today , I'll sing you a cycle of gruesome songs."

The cycle mentioned here only refers to the first section of Winterreise , which Schubert composed in early 1827 and performed in front of his friends in February 1827.

Position in the overall cycle

In early 1827, Schubert set Müller's first twelve songs to music, as they appeared in the fifth volume of the Urania paperback in 1823 . Only after he came across Müller's complete cycle of 24 songs in autumn, which was published in 1824 as the second volume of poems from the papers left behind by a traveling French horn player , did he set the remaining twelve to music. In Müller's final version, the second twelve songs are not simply appended to the previously published ones, but rather inserted into them. Schubert, on the other hand, retained the original sequence of Müller's first twelve songs - whether for reasons of the creation process or because of his own musical and textual intentions. This change in the position of the linden tree in the cycle resulted in a shift in meaning. While the linden tree in Müller's complete version, published in 1824, is followed by Die Post , which is primarily still hopeful , Schubert is followed by the rather questioning and resigned title Wasserflut .

Silcher's sentence

An arrangement by Friedrich Silcher was mainly responsible for the success of the song . On the basis of Schubert's setting of the first stanza , he set Am Brunnen vor dem Tore in 1846 for four male voices a cappella . It is above all this version that has made the song a “folk song” and is responsible for its enormous popularity, as it was often printed in school and choir song books. Arnold Feil comments on the common listening experiences with the linden tree

"We hardly hear Schubert's melody as the 'sage' of the text, which basically does not need any harmony or accompaniment, we rather hear it as the upper part of a four-part male choir, which as a whole seems to be a folk song"

Silcher's arrangement can be found first in volume VIII of his folk songs, collected and set for four male voices , his main work, which was published in twelve volumes over the period from 1826 to 1860. Like all of Silcher's folk song settings, it is now available as a single work, so the context of the Winterreise is missing; even the title The Linden Tree no longer appears.

The fact that Silcher was aware of his simplifications in terms of folk music use suggests the following quote from him: "After Franz Schubert reworked into a folk melody by FS"

Musical comparison

Analyzes that are primarily musically oriented mostly focus on the following questions:

  • How did Schubert and Silcher portray / implement Müller's textual reproach using musical techniques, possibly continue, deepen, flatten or expand it?
  • In what features do the versions of Schubert and Silcher differ or contradict each other in intention and statement?

Comparison of the versions by Silcher and Schubert

The versions by Schubert and Silcher show a number of differences in terms of form , melodic , harmonic and rhythmic aspects. The form of the accompaniment is also different (though also due to the necessary different voice guidance for piano and solo singing in contrast to an arrangement for choir). All of this causes a completely different and sometimes diametrically opposed musical interpretation of the identical text.

Separation from the overall cycle

Even the process of detaching a single song from an overall context of a cycle intended by the composer for the listener almost always causes a loss or a shift in musical perception and interpretation of the content. Motif connections with and allusions to previous and subsequent titles are usually lost, as are the key references and typical rhythmic figurations . Clemens Kühn writes:

“In such a cycle, the individual song stands in a certain environment from which it can hardly be extracted without loss. [...] That the second and third stanzas strike a different note [...] that does not perceive the same melody. "

Motif references marked in blue in Solidification and The Linden Tree (
audio examples with both hands ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

Thus the key embedding of the linden tree in the brackets of pieces held in minor (the E major of the "Lindenbaum" in the context of C minor in solidification and E minor in "Wasserflut") in an isolated representation of the song (as in the version by Silcher).

The special position of the linden tree , which marks a turn in the cycle from frozen (frozen tears, solidification) to thawed snow (flood of water, on the river) , is omitted in Silcher's version, as is the particularly contrasting and strongly stylized form of the folk song within one Art song cycle and the first appearance of a song in major, which, according to Peter Gülke, breaks through the “spell of minor” for the first time in relation to the preceding C minor as “super major” almost causing a shock.

The composer and musicologist Hans Gál formulates the contrast inherent in the cycle between the melancholy mood of the winter journey and the few rather lighter or more positive-looking titles such as Der Lindenbaum , Frühlingstraum and Die Post as follows:

“This is an abyss of self-torment that almost arouses a sense of shame. Here and there in the verses an undertone of tragic irony is evident. In music this turns into sheer despair. [...] How wisely the few lighter episodes are distributed like 'Der Lindenbaum', 'Frühlingstraum', 'Die Post', and how emotional moments are in which the melancholic's will to live still believes it can find consolation. "

Also, motivic anticipations and echoes of the linden tree as well as typical rhythmic figurations of the title in the context of the overall cycle in an isolated individual title as by Silcher are not comprehensible.

An elementary shortening, probably due to the requirements of a singable folksong, is the omission of the short, dramatic, musically very different middle section of the Schubert version (bars 53 to 65 - the cold winds blew ...) in Silcher.

Motif references in The Linden Tree and Water Flood (
audio samples with both hands ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

The musical loss of overarching references through a motivic separation of an individual title is particularly clear in the following example in the Lindenbaum . The second step in the left hand of solidification (bars 1, 44, 65, 69 and 103) followed by an upward jump of a third and a downward running second takes place in the linden tree in the upper part of the piano accompaniment in bars 1, 3, 25, 27 and the middle section (44th) , 47, 49 and 50) a correspondence / anticipation. A reverse in the chronological order of the songs as is the triplet upward triad of clock 59 to 66 of the lime tree, which in cycle 1 and water flow will be taken up again as a triplet upward Triolengang.

Melodic differences

Melody differences marked in blue in Schubert and Silcher (
audio samples ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

The melodies in Schubert's and Silcher's versions are ninety percent identical. However, the remaining ten percent, which differ from one another, are also decisive in terms of the overall harmonic and formal consequences for understanding the two versions and are often located at central harmonic corner points.

The first difference can be seen in bar 11 (Schubert). Schubert and Silcher begin the measure equally with a dotted quarter note and a subsequent eighth note . While Schubert continues this tone sequence with an eighth triplet downwards in seconds (A - G sharp - F sharp) , the Silcher version brings instead a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth note in a third step (B - G) . The final second step on “tree” is downward for Schubert, but upward for Silcher. In bar 15, however, Silcher again follows Schubert's triplet model.

Melodic and rhythmic differences marked in blue in Schubert and Silcher (
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Another difference can be seen in bar 23 after Schubert ("... to him always ..."). Schubert uses a relatively difficult rhythmic sequence of quarter - eighth - eighth - dotted eighth - sixteenth . Silcher deviates to the simpler version (probably also with regard to the better singability by an amateur choir) on quarters and four eighths, which Schubert uses in bars 70–76. This also changes, following Schubert, the melody and the part “to him me” is repeated according to bars 74–76 (Schubert).

Harmonic differences

Harmonic differences between Schubert and Silcher (
audio samples of both versions ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

The harmonic differences between the two versions are also relatively insignificant from a purely statistical point of view. Nevertheless, they are positioned (only the first two stanzas are comparable anyway) at decisive turning points in the genre song form (measure 4, 8, antecedent, subsequent clause, etc.) and thus often give the "musical meaning" a different course.

An example of this is the end of the first four bar on “-baum” in bar 12. With Schubert it ends on the tonic in E major, then changes to the dominant B major, on which the beginning of the next line then also says “I “Begins before the melody continues to run identically in both versions. Silcher, on the other hand, ends on “-baum” in the tonic (here in F major), does not change at all in the transition to the second part and begins the second part in the prelude exactly on the tonic.

By obeying the harmonious laws of the final clauses of front and back clauses and the “classical canon”, Silcher creates a contrast to Schubert's here rather unconventional form, which, according to Peter Rummenhöller, realizes a more diverse “expression of calm, tension, lack of will and enchantment” .

Harmonic differences in Schubert (bar 17) and Silcher (
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The harmonious simplifications of Silcher can be observed in many places. In bar 17, for example, at least the accompaniment changes harmoniously on a constant melody tone in Schubert, while Silcher simply maintains the harmonies.

Formal, rhythmic and cast differences

The decisive difference is that Silcher's version always realizes all stanzas with the same musical means - it is based on the instrumentation of Schubert's first stanza.

The six stanzas of the text are musically rearranged into four parts by Schubert. Part I and Part II comprise stanzas 1 and 2 as well as 3 and 4. Part III represents stanza 5 in the form of a contrasting interlude and part IV stanza 6. He designs the various stanzas in almost all aspects (rhythmic, harmonic, instrumentation-related, dynamic ) differently. Schubert's version thus corresponds to the type of the varied stanza song , while Silcher's version is a simple stanza song. Harry Goldschmidt even sees the varied verse song merged with the principles of the sonata form in the song .

In addition, Silcher lacks the preludes held in fast sixteenth-note triplets (bars 1 to 8 according to Schubert from bar 1), interludes (e.g. bars 25 to 28) and the aftermath (the last six bars of Schubert).

Another important difference is the insertion in Schubert (bars 45 to 58) with his lyrically and musically very different statement “the cold winds were blowing in my face ...” This part has little to do melodically with the actual song. Musically, it can only be interpreted as a continuation of the sixteenth-note triplet movement in the introduction and in the first interlude (bars 25 to 28). What can be observed, however, is that Schubert anticipated it with the accompaniment in triplet figures before the second stanza and was also taken up again afterwards.

Part One:

The accompaniment of the first stanza is largely similar in Schubert and Silcher. With both, the accompaniment is primarily limited to the rhythmically parallel accompaniment, which is adapted to the requirements of the instrumentation, in mostly block-like triads (or in rare cases seventh chords ).

However, there are differences in the details. It is difficult to decide whether this is due to the different technical requirements, such as the greater mobility of a piano compared to an amateur choir that Silcher intended, or due to other intentions of Silcher.

While in the second bar on the three eighth notes of "nen - vor - dem" the ascending bass brings tonic, third and dominant in Schubert, the bass in Silcher repeats the tonic key three times. F. Schubert uses longer note values ​​in the accompaniment with half and quarter notes in bar 3 than in the melody and thus creates a possibly preparatory contrast to the subsequent eighth notes of the accompaniment in bar 4. With Silcher, alto , tenor and bass are rhythmically precisely coupled with the soprano . While the Silcher version rests in bar 5 on a half and a subsequent quarter pause in a harmoniously inflexible manner, Schubert introduces an insertion of the piano in thirds. In bar 10 the already known procedure can be seen - Schubert's version is changed rhythmically and instrumentally by Silcher and at least reversed from a rhythmic point of view. While Schubert's accompaniment is almost identical to the melody here, in the lower voices (tenor and bass), Silcher brings the more complicated - and not easy for a choir - version of dotted eighth notes, sixteenths, dotted fourths and eighth notes as opposed to dotted quarters and three eighths in soprano and alto. However, Schubert's rhythmically simpler version makes a harmonic change in bar 10, while Silcher maintains the harmony in the same bar.

Part II:

Various accompanying forms of the right hand (the left is almost identical in rhythm) from the second stanza by Schubert (
audio examples with both hands ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

In this part, the differences between the two versions can be heard immediately, even without theoretical analysis. Schubert primarily brings triplets, while Silcher repeats verse 1.

Schubert keeps the accompaniment relatively varied here. Purely triplet accompaniment alternates several times with triplets and eighth notes, triplets as well as eighth notes and quarters or triplets and dotted eighth notes and sixteenth notes. But the triplet is always present.

A crucial difference is that the first part of the second stanza (bars 28 to 36) is in E minor instead of E major like the first. Only then does the return to the usual E major take place in bar 27. The present is shown here in minor and the past in major. Even the promise of “rest through the tree” (which can also be interpreted as a suicide request) is formulated in major.

As a possibility for extra-musical interpretation, Clemens Kühn thinks that the triplets here, in contrast to the first stanza as a "stable existence", are opposed to the "moving symbol of wandering" and the tonal stability of the stanzas decreases with each stanza.

Part III:

Different melodies (without chords) in the interlude (
audio sample ? / I )Audio file / audio sample

The Schubert interlude is less vocal than more dramatic and recitative . Although certain interval reminiscences of the original melody are retained, the vocal melody is often reduced to declamatory tone repetitions and unsangible jumps such as the octave jump on the word "head". The hectic, repetitive left hand, which was relocated exclusively to the triplet movement of the opening and middle game, and Schubert's repetitive left hand in deep bass regions - on C below later even B - reinforces this impression. The part can also be understood as a variation and implementation in one.

Part IV

In the third stanza Schubert combines elements from the previous stanzas. He stays in the major of the first stanza and avoids the minor of the second stanza. At the same time, however, he retains the varied, mostly triplet accompaniment of verse 2. But even the sounding, which is more based on both stanzas, does not result in a musically identical appearance. Clemens Kühn says :

“When the starting melody returns afterwards ('Now I'm some hour'), ​​it is a 'different' singing, just as the piano part, which takes up the triplets, does not remain the same. What was initially sung about as real and vivid as it was at the beginning, distant, but finally reveals itself as fragile and seeming ('you would find peace there!'). "

In general - also with Schumann , Brahms or Grieg - it is not uncommon for songs to be varied differently with each stanza according to the musical intention.

Criticism of Silcher's treatment

Silcher has been criticized for the “seemingly foolish matter of course with which he removed the folk song verse almost like a picture from the overall context” and thus removed the “framing of the linden tree”. His setting is rated, for example, as a “one-dimensionalization / leveling” of the more complex textual interpretation of Schubert's version. Peter Rummenhöller describes Silcher's version as "understandable, popular and unfortunately also undeniably trivial". Frieder Reininghaus states that Silcher's version turns the Schubert song into a “bourgeois and reactionary Sunday afternoon idyll in the small town” , although it is “a matter of life and death ”. The "ambiguity and irony" of Müller and Schubert is completely lost. Elmar Bozzetti criticizes that the utopia of the linden tree, which is recognizable by the varied form in Schubert, becomes a " Biedermeier pseudo- reality without reference to reality" through the unchanged and simplified form in Silcher .

Clemens Kühn is of the opinion that the Silcher version does not perceive the “striking of a different note in the second and third verse” that is recognizable in Schubert because of the “always the same melody”. Because of the “harmlessly beautiful smoothed out”, the song loses “that depth that it possesses in the original” in Silcher's version.

On the other hand, Joseph Müller-Blattau appreciatively emphasizes that Silcher distilled the “original melody” out of Schubert's variations from the three varied stanzas.

Impact history

Schubert's song and cycle inspired later classical composers. Thus, Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer by both the textual intention as well as compositional details clearly from the Winterreise or The Lindenbaum (the fourth song in Mahler: "On the road stood a linden tree, because I've rested for the first time in his sleep ... “) Influenced. There is also an instrumentation of the Winterreise by Anton von Webern .

In many arrangements, Der Lindenbaum has become a popular part of the repertoire of the choral societies. The ambivalent attitude of the song has often given way to a belittling romanticization. In the singspiel Das Dreimäderlhaus , premiered in 1916 , Schubert had Franz von Schober perform the song from the linden tree in order to make a declaration of love for his adored Hannerl .

A leitmotif is the role of Der Lindenbaum in the novel The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann . In the chapter Fülle des Wohllauts , Hans Castorp listens to the song devotedly on a gramophone record . In the final chapter , the thunderbolt he moves with the song on the lips in the war ; the linden tree becomes a symbol of his seven carefree years in the Berghof sanatorium . The song is also cited covertly in Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus .

At the well by the gate is also the title of a 1952 by Kurt Ulrich produced home movie with Sonja Ziemann and Heli Finkenzeller where an inn its name borrowed from the song title.

In addition to composers, writers, dramaturges and visual artists also deal with the winter trip in the 20th century . More modern compositional discussions come from Hans Zender ( tenor and small orchestra), Reiner Bredemeyer , Friedhelm Döhl ( string quintet ) and Reinhard Febel . Hans Zender explicitly referred to his interpretation from 1993 as “a composed interpretation”. In his own words, he tries to translate Schubert's intentions, which are concealed by the history of reception, listening habits and performance practice, into an increasingly expressive musical language of the present. However, Döhl combines the text by Müller with texts by Georg Trakl and his own socialist convictions.

Edits and recordings

The linden tree in the Schubert version was recorded and performed by almost all well-known singers of the 20th century in all voices from soprano to bass . A few names are Hans Hotter , Lotte Lehmann , Peter Anders , Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau , Hermann Prey , Theo Adam , Peter Schreier , Ernst Haefliger , Olaf Bär , Brigitte Fassbaender , René Kollo and Thomas Hampson . World-famous pianists such as Gerald Moore , Jörg Demus , Swjatoslaw Richter , Murray Perahia , Daniel Barenboim , Alfred Brendel , Wolfgang Sawallisch or András Schiff served as accompanists .

Other choir versions are by Conradin Kreutzer , Ludwig Erk , Peter Hammersteen and Josef Böck. There are also three-part choir versions (e.g. by Stinia Zijderlaan) for two sopranos and one alto.

There are also many more or less well-known arrangements of the song for various instrumental combinations.

By Franz Liszt a version for comes piano solo , which has greatly contributed to the popularization of the song and the whole cycle. In the Schubert Liszt album edited by Gustav Lazarus, the virtuoso Liszt transcription is simplified in technical terms.

There are also countless recordings with different instrumental groups. The singing voice is played by cello , trombone , violin , clarinet , bassoon or viola and accompanied by string orchestras , piano trio ( Emmy Bettendorf ), guitar or other instrumental combinations.

Marketing and Pop Culture

Relatively free re-instrumentation in the pop-classical area, such as by Helmut Lotti or Nana Mouskouri with a dense set of strings or strings that reinforce the piano are not uncommon.

Politically committed songwriters such as Franz Josef Degenhardt and Konstantin Wecker as well as Herman van Veen and Achim Reichel have also set the song to music. There is also a recording by the French singer Mireille Mathieu .

What is sometimes made of the versions by Schubert and Silcher nowadays can be guessed at the following quote from the advertising brochure of a wind orchestra:

“Schubert's 'Lindenbaum', which the musicians dressed in completely new clothes, was also a very special sound experience. Whether in James Last's typical 'happy sound', in the tuba-heavy Egerländer style or in the humorous version of Spike Jones with whistles, fanfare and bang - the musicians demonstrated their brilliant technique at the 'Lindenbaum'. "

The North Hessian town of Bad Sooden-Allendorf advertises itself with the fact that Wilhelm Müller wrote the poem by the room fountain there in front of the Allendorfer Steintor, where an old linden tree stood. There is also a plaque with the lyrics to the song. However, there is nothing to indicate that Müller was ever in Allendorf. The Höldrichsmühle restaurant in Hinterbrühl near Vienna, on the other hand, claims to be the place of origin of Schubert's composition. However, there is no evidence of this either.

In the German version of the episode Der Versager (Code 7G03, Scene 03) of the Simpsons, Bart Simpson raps this song - with heavily changed text, but clearly recognizable. (In the original version he sings " John Henry Was a Steel Driving Man").

"At the fountain in front of the big gate, uff, there is such a horny linden tree oh yea, I dreamed in its shadow, so many sweet dreams, so many sweet dreams under this horny linden tree, oh yea, oh yea."

Also in the film 1½ Knights - In Search of the Adorable Herzelinde , the song is sung by the princess and the ladies-in-waiting under the guidance of the singing teacher and later mentioned by Ritter Lanze.


  • Reinhold Brinkmann : Franz Schubert, linden trees and German national identity. Interpretation of a song. Wiener Vorlesungen im Rathaus, Nr. 107. Picus-Verlag, Vienna, ISBN 3-85452-507-9 .
  • Gabriel Brügel: Critical reports on Silcher's folk songs, at the same time a contribution to folk song research. In: Anthologies of the International Music Society. 15th year, H. 3. (Apr.-Jun., 1914), pp. 439-457.
  • Elmar Budde : Schubert's song cycles. Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-44807-0 .
  • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau : Franz Schubert and his songs. Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-458-34219-2 .
  • Marie-Agnes Dittrich : Harmonics and language setting in Schubert's songs. In: Hamburg contributions to musicology. Volume 38. Verlag der Musikalienhandlung Wagner, Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-88979-049-6 .
  • Kurt von Fischer : Some thoughts on key order in Schubert's song cycles. In: Kurt von Fischer: Essays in musicology. New York 1989, pp. 122-132.
  • Cord Garben : On the interpretation of the song cycles by Franz Schubert - Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, Schwanengesang - Notes for pianists. Verlag der Musikalienhandlung Wagner, Eisenach 1999.
  • Harry Goldschmidt : Schubert's "Winterreise". In: About the cause of music - speeches and essays. Publishing house Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1970.
  • Veit Gruner: Expression and Effect of Harmonics in Franz Schubert's Winter Journey - Analyzes, Interpretations, Suggested Lessons. Verlag Die Blaue Eule, Essen 2004, ISBN 3-89924-049-9 .
  • Peter Gülke : Franz Schubert and his time. (Note: on the lemma of the section The large song cycles , pages 216–265), Laaber-Verlag, 2nd edition of the original edition from 1996, 2002, ISBN 3-89007-537-1 .
  • Günter Hartung: "At the fountain in front of the gate ..." - Speech about a song by Wilhelm Müller and Franz Schubert. In: Impulse - essays, sources, reports on German Classical and Romanticism. Episode 3, Berlin / Weimar 1981, pp. 250-267.
  • Uwe Hentschel: The linden tree in German literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. In: Orbis Litterarum. Vol. 60 (2005), H. 5, pp. 357-376.
  • Wolfgang Hufschmidt : "The Linden Tree" - or: How do you suppress a bad memory. In: ders .: Do you want to twist your lyre to my songs? On the semantics of musical language in Schubert's "Winterreise" and Eisler's "Hollywood songbook". Pfau Verlag, Saarbrücken 1992, pp. 96-102.
  • Wilhelm Müller: Works, diaries, letters in 5 volumes and a register volume . Edited by Maria-Verena Leistner. With an introduction by Bernd Leistner. Verlag Mathias Gatza, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-928262-21-1 .
  • Christiane Wittkop: Polyphony and Coherence. Wilhelm Müller's cycle of poems "Die Winterreise". M and P Verlag for Science and Research, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-476-45063-5 .
  • Martin Zenck : Franz Schubert in the 19th century. To criticize a damaged picture. In: Klaus Hinrich Stahmer (ed.): Franz Schubert and Gustav Mahler in contemporary music. Schott, Mainz 1997, ISBN 3-7957-0338-7 , pp. 9-24.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Inventory No. PK 90/2123. German Historical Museum , accessed on June 1, 2018 .
  2. ^ Ernst Hilmar : Franz Schubert , Rowohlt, Hamburg, 1997, page 98.
  3. Quoted from: Wilhelm Müller: Poems from the papers left behind by a traveling French horn player. First ribbon. Second edition, Dessau 1826, p. 83f. ( online )
  4. ^ Rolf Vollmann: Wilhelm Müller and Romanticism . In: Arnold Feil: Franz Schubert. The beautiful Miller. Winter trip . Stuttgart, Reclam, 1975, pp. 173-184; here: p. 183.
  5. Erika von Borries: Wilhelm Müller - The Poet of Winter Travel - A Biography , CH Beck, 2007, p. 165.
  6. Program 1.indd (PDF; 1.9 MB) Retrieved on June 20, 2010.
  7. For example by Bernd Leistner in the foreword to the edition of Wilhelm Müller's work, available online here: Internationale Wilhelm-Müller-Gesellschaft
  8. Vollmann, p. 182.
  9. See: Wittkop 1994 and Hufschmidt 1992.
  10. Music in the past and present , Volume 12, Ed .: Friedrich Blume , dtv (Bärenreiter), 1989, page 161
  11. Erika von Borries: Wilhelm Müller - The Poet of Winter Travel - A Biography , CH Beck, 2007, p. 159
  12. Erika von Borries: Wilhelm Müller - The Poet of Winter Travel - A Biography, CH Beck, 2007, pp. 165 and 169.
  13. a b Achim Goeres: ... what do I want to hem under the sleepers? - Thoughts on Schubert's winter journey . Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  14. ^ Harry Goldschmidt: Schubert's winter journey. In: About the cause of music - speeches and essays. Publishing house Philipp Reclam jun. Leipzig, 1970, pages 106 and 107
  15. Note: From 1818 Schubert worked in a private circle around Anton Ottenwald, Josef Kenner, Friedrich Mayr and Johann Senn, who dealt with literary-artistic, ethical and national issues. In 1820 the police carried out a written visitation to Senn and he was arrested. Schubert is said to have proceeded with verbal incursions and insults during the arrest of the officers and received a warning. (after Ernst Hilmar: Schubert , Rowohlt, 2nd edition, Hamburg, 1997, pages 29–31 and Otto Erich Deutsch: Franz Schubert - The documents of his life , collected and explained by Erich Deutsch, new edition of all works, volume 5, Leipzig, 1964, page 88)
  16. Note: "Even if Schubert himself was not a political agitator, he had permanent contacts with the political opposition, which Metternich had 10,000 informers secretly monitor." In: Peter Vujica: Müller songs from the underground ( Memento of the original from December 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in: Journal of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, February 2005 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Norbert Michels: Wilhelm Müller - A Journey through Life - To the 200th birthday of the poet , Boehlau, 1994, p. 101.
  18. ↑ Select this approach via the time structure Hufschmidt, p. 96f., Wittkop, p. 113ff. and Brinkmann, p. 18f.
  19. See Hufschmidt, p. 96.
  20. See the examples under the web link to the "Goethezeitportal".
  21. Hufschmidt, p. 96.
  22. Wittkop, p. 78.
  23. ^ Gerd Eversberg : Theodor Storm and the media. Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1999, page 73 ff.
  24. Manfred Kluge and Rudolf Radler: Major Works of German Literature - Individual Representations and Interpretations. Kindler Verlag, 1974, page 160
  25. ^ Susan Youens: A Wintry Geography of the Soul. Schubert's winter journey. In Wilhelm Müller, Franz Schubert, Louise McClelland, John Harbinson, Susan Youens, Katrin Talbot: Schubert's Winterreise: a winter journey in poetry, image, & song. Parts 911-958, University of Wisconsin Press, 2003, p. XVII
  26. ^ A b Peter Gülke: Franz Schubert und seine Zeit , Laaber-Verlag, 2nd edition of the original edition from 1996, 2002, page 243
  27. See Hentschel 2005, p. 363ff.
  28. See Brinkmann 2004, p. 27.
  29. Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain. Collected works in individual volumes. Frankfurt 1981, Volume 6, p. 916 f.
  30. See for example Brinkmann 2004, passim; Wittkop 1994, p. 113ff .; Hufschmidt 1992.
  31. ^ Heinrich Heine: New poems . New Spring , no.31.1844.
  32. ^ Jürgen Kuczynski: History of the everyday life of the German people - 1600 to 1945. Page 275
  33. Das Grosse Volkslexikon - 1000 questions and answers, Bertelsmann Lexikon Institut, Wissen Media Verlag, 2006, page 57
  34. Music in the past and present , Volume 12, Ed .: Friedrich Blume , dtv (Bärenreiter), 1989, page 161
  35. ^ Günter Hartung: Literature and World - Lectures. Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2002, page 200
  36. Hans Schnorr: History of Music , Bertelsmann Verlag, Gütersloh 1954, p. 334
  37. Walther Dürr: Schubert's Winterreise - On the origin and publication history - observations on the manuscript. In: Sabine Doering, Waltraud Maierhofer, Peter Joachim Riedle (eds.): Resonanzen. Festschrift for Hans Joachim Kreutzer. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2000, ISBN 3-8260-1882-6 , pp. 302–303 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  38. ^ Elmar Budde: Schubert's song cycles - a musical work guide. CH Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-44807-0 , pp. 69–70 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  39. ^ Thrasybulos Georgos Georgiades: Schubert - Music and Poetry. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1992, ISBN 3-525-27801-2 , p. 358.
  40. ^ Arnold Feil: Franz Schubert. The beautiful miller's wife, winter journey . Reclam, Stuttgart, 1975, p. 112.
  41. a b c Clemens Kühn : Formenlehre der Musik, dtv / Bärenreiter, 1987, 4th edition 1994, page 167
  42. Harry Goldschmidt: Schubert's "Winterreise." In: To the matter of music - speeches and essays. Publishing house Philipp Reclam jun. Leipzig, 1970, page 116
  43. Peter Gülke: Franz Schubert and his time. Laaber-Verlag, 2nd edition of the original edition from 1996, 2002, page 243
  44. Hans Gal: Franz Schubert or The Melody . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1970, pp. 120 and 121
  45. Hans Gal: Franz Schubert or The Melody . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1970, p. 128
  46. Arnold Feil: Franz Schubert - Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise , 2nd edition, Reclam, Stuttgart, 1996, page 103
  47. ^ Veit Gruner: Expression and Effect of Harmonics in Franz Schubert's Winter Journey - Analyzes, Interpretations, Suggested Lessons , Essen, Verlag Die Blaue Eule, 2004, pages 184 and 185
  48. a b Peter Rummenhöller: Introduction to Music Sociology, Noetzel, Florian; 1978, 4th edition 1998, page 239
  49. Recognizable by looking at and comparing both music texts.
  50. a b Harry Goldschmidt: Schubert's "Winterreise". In: About the cause of music - speeches and essays. Publishing house Philipp Reclam jun. Leipzig, 1970, page 115
  51. ^ Dtv-Atlas zur Musik, Volume 2, dtv, Munich, 1985, page 464
  52. Ekkehard Kreft and Erhard Johannes Bücker: Textbook of Musicology, Schwann, 1984, page 346
  53. a b Harry Goldschmidt: Schubert's "Winterreise." In: To the matter of music - speeches and essays. Publishing house Philipp Reclam jun. Leipzig, 1970, page 115
  54. Note: Measure numbers without prelude: Measure number here related to the first measure of the text. Including the start of "Am", "fountain before" measure 2 is meant here.
  55. Clemens Kühn : Form theory of music. dtv / Bärenreiter, 1987, 4th edition 1994, p. 166 ff.
  56. ^ Elmar Budde: Schubert's song cycles. Munich 2003, page 56, 77 ff.
  57. Hans Zacharias: Books of Music. - Volume 4, page 42
  58. ^ Peter Gülke: Franz Schubert and his time , Laaber-Verlag, 2nd edition of the original edition from 1996, 2002, page 156
  59. Peter Rummenhöller: Introduction to Music Sociology , Volume 31 of paperback books on musicology, Heinrichshofen, 1978, page 238
  60. ^ Frieder Reininghaus: Schubert and the tavern - music under Metternich, Oberbaum 1980, pages 216 to 218
  61. Elmar Bozzetti: Am Brunnen vor… - The liberation of a song from the cliché of the idyllic; in Zeitschrift für Musikpädagogik, issue 18, 1982, page 36 ff.
  62. Peter Revers: Mahler's songs - A musical work guide, CH Beck, 2000, page 60 ff.
  63. ^ Sabine Giesbrecht-Schutte : "Klagen eines Troubadours" - on the popularization of Schubert in the Dreimäderlhaus. In: Martin Geck, Festschrift for the 65th birthday. Ed .: Ares Rolf and Ulrich Tadday , Dortmund, 2001, page 109 ff.
  64. ^ Rudolf Weber, Hans-Joachim Erwe, Werner Keil : Hildesheimer Musikwissenschaftliche Arbeit. - Volume 4- Contributions to Musicology and Music Education, Olms, page 180 ff.
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  66. Stinia Zijderlaan (arr.): De Lindeboom : sheet music and audio files in the International Music Score Library Project
  67. ^ Piano works / Franz Liszt; Volume 9: Song arrangements for piano for two hands, Leipzig: Edition Peters No. 3602a, n. D. Plate 9885 : Sheet music and audio files in the International Music Score Library Project
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    Schubert in the Höldrichsmühle. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, No. 15860/1908, October 16, 1908, p. 10, center right. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfpas well as Schubert in the Höldrichsmühle. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, No. 15861/1908, October 17, 1908, p. 11, top left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
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