Schubert, Wolf and Goethe’s Mignon.

4 April 2015
A comparison of Goethe’s text and the varied interpretations perceived by Schubert and Wolf.

This essay shows how two different composers, Schubert and Wolf, with a varied knowledge of `Mignon` relied on their own interpretation of the literature. The essay also explains and develops the differences between the two musical versions of Mignon.
`Throughout history, composers have turned to the poetry of celebrated poets when composing vocal music. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see the same poetry set to music by different composers within the same era. Such an example of this is the setting to music of the Mignon’s Lieder from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s `Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre.` Several composers, including Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf have set this group of four poems to music. However, each composer’s interpretation of the text varies in a different manner. This is based mostly on the personal understanding of the text, and how each composer perceives it. For the purposes of this discussion, we will be comparing the settings of both Schubert and Wolf. `

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