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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Derrrrr Tree?!

In times of joy and sadness
|: It always drew me near. :|

Come to me weary traveler,
|: You'll find your peace with me. :|

And still I hear it whispering
|: You'd find your peace with me. :|

Schubert's Der Lindenbaum, arguably one of the most popular, thereby recognizable songs of the Winterreise song cycle plunges into a pool of deep, intimate, and thereby complex sort of simplicity. For it seems as though the writer's central idea of remembrance, coincides with the Linden tree and how this simple act of natural beauty can evoke so much emotion through the gentle reminder of past events. The rejected lover in the song cycle is, in essence rehashing a journey that has already taken place.

The song is set up in a major mode and is accompanied by simple piano flourishing that seems to dance around the text as it paints a vivid picture of the past. The piano by no means overpowers the voice but certainly plays a character all on its own floating with the phrases almost like the past that the singer has traveled to to relive, or even more appropriately, the gentle rustling of the piano accompaniment may represent the linden tree and that vantage point of the past that the singer is recollecting. Only for a very brief moment does the mode shift form major to minor; when the singer talks of passing the tree in darkness. This further emphasizes the role of the linden tree as the life and the foundation for the memories and the idea that the piano represents the linden tree and thus enters a minor mode when it becomes absent from the singer.

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