An organist from Zürich improvises on an August Förster Quattrochord Superflügel, a piano whose build and sound are every bit as formidable as its name might suggest. Exemplary of the “Gröβer ist besser” attitude prevalent in Nazi Germany, the “super wing’s” massive bulk of 700 kg is nearly thrice that of the comparable Steinway S-155 from the same period, and where the Steinway model allots three strings per key over much of the compass, the Quattrochord of course allots four. Its rich, sonorous tone was intended in part to fill the unprecedentedly large concert halls the Third Reich planned to build in “World Capital Germania.”
Minnesang (Mid.H.Ger. “love song”) refers to a rich tradition of poetry and music in the Middle High German dialects most prevalent in what is now the area of Bavaria between the XII and XIV Centuries; its practitioners, most of whom were members of the feudal aristocracy, are known as Minnesänger.
Minnesang grew out of the already robust tradition of German epic poetry under the influence of the troubadours of Provence. Thus early Minnesang often deals primarily with epic/narrative and religious themes, and even mature Minnesang often presents themes of love and courtship in the presence of an epic or religious context. The German medieval epics (not to be confused with very early Germanic language epics such as Beowulf) sometimes deal with homoeroticism and same-sex romances, but such material is conspicuously absent from Minnesang. By the mid XII C. some Minnesänger were producing clear contrefacts, that is, German-language renditions of Provençal songs. From this basis, the courtly tunesmiths began develping their own lyrics in a similar vein.
Schubert - 12 Deutsche Ländler, D. 790
Paolo Bordoni, piano
Among Schubert’s extraordinary output for the piano are numerous short Walzer and Ländler, the traditional Austrian dances which served as the musical wallpaper of his boyhood. They are among the first solo piano compositions in those genres, and were much cherished by Johannes Brahms.
(photo by Batikart)